Baltimore Orioles: Ubaldo Jimenez struggles in win
Ubaldo Jimenez didn’t make it out of the first inning in the Baltimore Orioles’ 5-3 win over Pittsburgh.
As spring training goes on the Baltimore Orioles seemingly have a pitching problem more and more. This evening it was Ubaldo Jimenez who struggled, this time against Pittsburgh in Bradenton. Jimenez’s line: .2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 0 K. For those keeping score at home, yes he was pulled before the first inning even ended.
Jimenez was nearing 40 pitches in the laborious first inning, which is why he was
pulled when he was. He ended up going down to the bullpen and working on various pitches, throwing about 80 total. However this start won’t do much to calm the fears of the masses back home and perhaps some on the coaching staff – many of whom have legitiate questions about the stating rotation.
The O’s jumped out to an early lead, as Pedro Alvarez smacked a solo homer in the first inning. Alvarez of course spent a great deal of time in Pittsburgh, and the fans gave him a nice ovation prior to his at-bat. What they thought as he rounded the bases after homering against them might be another story!
Call to the Pen
Before the first inning ended, Nolan Reimold homered as well and the Birds took a 2-0 lead into the last of the first. However Pittsburgh would notch three runs in the inning as well, on an RBI-triple and an RBI-single. All of those runs came against Jimenez, who as I said didn’t make it out of the inning. For what it’s worth, barring an injury the only way Jimenez isn’t on the roster is if he’s DFA’d. And the Orioles don’t have the option of doing that.
The good news is that the relievers the Birds brought in quieted Pittsburgh bats for the most part. However Reimold would notch another RBI in the eighth inning as the O’s would tie the game on a wild pitch. One inning later Garabez Rosa, who’s had a great spring in his own right, gave the O’s the lead with an RBI-double. They would extend the lead to 5-3 on an RBI-single by Josh Hart, and they would go onto win by that score.
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Again, the concern coming out of this game is the starting rotation. As I’ve said on numerous occasions, you can’t put too much stock in spring numbers. However Jimenez himself admitted after coming out that he wasn’t sharp tonight, citing specifically fastball command (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
"I just didn’t have good command of the fastball. I was falling behind in the count and they made me pay for it. I think the only two good pitches that I threw, they were able to find a hole. (Andrew) McCutchen (single] and then the other one (Josh Harrison) hit a blooper. There’s not a lot I can do with it. But I didn’t have good command of the fastball today."
This was perhaps the first start Jimenez has had in which he or anyone has admitted he wasn’t good. Often times he’s been working on various pitches and there wasn’t much of a game plan in terms of the ebb and flow of the game. In fairness, that’s one of my arguments for ineffectiveness in spring games (no ebb and flow). However at the end of the day you still need to make your pitches.
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Jimenez could still make another start this spring, if the O’s decide to send him out to the mound on Friday night in Philadelphia – which technically is still Grapefruit League play. The good news is that he went out to the bullpen and was able to work on his pitches during the game. The hope on the part of the Orioles is that it translates into effectiveness in the regular season. As I said, Jimenez’s spot on the roster is down in ink and without fail (barring injury).