The Baltimore Orioles had a weak starting rotation and Ubaldo Jimenez was one of the weakest cogs in it throughout the entire season.
In his 4th season with the Baltimore Orioles and 12th season overall, Jimenez had his worst season ever finishing with an ERA two runs higher that he had in his first season with the team.
Jimenez started in 25 games for the Orioles and he threw pitches in 31 as Buck Showalter tried to figure out the best way to keep him from helping other teams win. By the end of the season, Jimenez led the American League by giving up 108 earned runs.
On the leaderboard
At the end of the season, Jimenez led the American League by giving up 108 earned runs. This is one leaderboard that no pitcher wants to top, but he did end up sharing the honor with Jordan Zimmermann of the Detroit Tigers. The top five was rounded out by Jason Hammel with the Kansas City Royals, Rick Porcello with the Boston Red Sox, and Marco Estrada with the Toronto Blue Jays. Sadly, two other Orioles pitchers were in the top 10 in the same category: Wade Miley (8th) and Kevin Gausman (9).
Jimenez would have owned that category had Showalter mismanaged his pitchers. Zimmermann pitched 160 innings and Jimenez pitched 142.1 innings. Just think of how many more earned runs he would have given up had Jimenez played for a different manager.
Constant sixes and sevens
Topping that leaderboard sums up the terror that Orioles fans felt when Jimenez took the mound. Looking at Jimenez’s game log for 2017 makes it easy to see why the team didn’t make it to October. When a member of the rotation consistently moves through the season with an ERA in the sixes and sevens, it is difficult for any offense to provide enough support. Surprisingly, the offense was able to do so in a few games. So, Jimenez ended the season with a win-loss record of 6-11.
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Interestingly, Jimenez did have some successes in the season. He pitched in four games against the New York Yankees and the team won three of those games. There wasn’t much else to cheer about, though.
Unfortunately, he was not as successful against the other division rivals. Against the Tampa Bay Rays, the lost three out of the four games in which he pitched; the game they won he threw 3.1 innings. The Orioles went one for three in the games against the Red Sox and the O’s split the two games he pitched against the Blue Jays.
The best and worst of 2017
Overall, in games where he was on the mound for at least one inning of work, the Orioles were 13-18. His worst game was on June 23 against the Rays. He pitched 2.1 innings and gave up nine earned runs off of seven hits and four walks. His best game was just a few days later on June 29 against the Blue Jays. That day, he pitched eight innings, gave up two hits, struck out eight, and did not allow a run to score. There were games where he struck out more batters, but in those games where he struck out 10 and 11 batters, he also gave up home runs.
Jimenez ended the season a far cry from where he started with the team in 2014. But, he never was a lights-out pitcher while in Baltimore. He is now a free agent and Orioles fans no longer have to worry about his starts. Maybe the Orioles can benefit from hitting a few home runs off of him in 2018.