Ubaldo Jimenez gave the Baltimore Orioles six solid innings in what technically was a spot start as the Birds defeated San Diego, 7-2.
I’m not sure that there’s anyone on the Baltimore Orioles who’s been maligned more than Ubaldo Jimenez. On one hand you feel badly for the guy, but on the other hand he’s brought the criticism on himself. (This is not to say that some of the more vicious comments made by fans are always totally fair.) However in what amounted to a spot start out of the bullpen last night, Jimenez silenced his detractors…
…for one night, that is. Jimenez’s line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 7 K. This was Jimenez’s first quality start since May 7th. And the criticism was still there; many fans were complaining when he began the game with ball one. But he picked the Orioles up when they needed it, and provided them with a great outing.
He was in the hole early however, as Kemp’s first inning RBI-single gave San Diego an early 1-0 lead. However Mark Trumbo picked the last of the second to hit his latest home run, which tied the game at one. One inning later the O’s had the lead for good on Jonathan Schoop‘s RBI-double.
Call to the Pen
The teams would swap RBI-singles in the fourth and fifth, leaving the score at 3-2. However the O’s weren’t going to be denied on this night. Ryan Flaherty smacked a solo homer in the last of the fifth right after San Diego got back to within one run. And that fifth inning ended up being a big one for the O’s, who loaded the bases later in the inning. Davis was hit by a pitch which scored an additional run for the Birds, and Wieters’ sac fly-RBI ran the score to 6-2.
One inning later Kim’s RBI-single gave the O’s a 7-2 lead, which held up as the final. And we were able to see the Orioles’ bullpen function about as close to normal as it could, with Brach pitching a solid two innings and Britton closing the door in the ninth. But the story of the night was Jimenez, who was about as sharp as he’s ever been. Obviously many folks are going to assume (perhaps rightfully so) that thisis merely a flash in the pan. Only time will tell.
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After the game Jimenez admitted that it made him very happy to finally be able to contribute in a positive manner to the team (quote courtesy of Brittany Ghiroli, mlb.com):
"It felt really good finally being able to give the team a chance to win, to be able to pitch six innings, it felt good. That’s probably the most exciting thing about baseball. They give you a chance to start and it’s a new game."
With all of the failures Jimenez has seen this year, eventually that will wear on you. And I would submit that eventually it will get you into a rut, which might well explain some of the outings he’s had this year. It’s unclear if Jimenez is going to remain in the rotation or head back to the bullpen, however today’s off day is a good time for the Birds to figure that out.
The Orioles can also get somewhat inventive with their rotation if need be, as they’re also off on Monday following Tampa’s visit and before the beginning of a west coast swing. With that said, of course they’ll need two starters on Saturday with the doubleheader.