May 2, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez (31) pitches in the eighth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. The Baltimore Orioles win 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles: Starting Pitching is Starting Pitching


 

The Baltimore Orioles began the 2014 season with concerns about the condition of their starting rotation, and the first month validated that concern. But there are signs that the situation may be changing a bit, especially in the wake of Ubaldo Jimenez completely shutting down the Minnesota Twins on Friday evening.

Maybe the starting pitching has begun to really start pitching.

Jimenez was simply marvelous over 7.1 innings with zero runs allowed on only three hits, striking out 10 … and get this – (this is not a mistake …) only ONE walk!

All along, Jimenez has had the best stuff on the Orioles staff in terms of ball movement, but he has had little command of the strike zone prior to last evening. If Ubaldo can generally repeat the performance against the Twins over the course of 2014, he will prove to be worth the investment and will make a huge difference in the possibilities of Baltimore baseball stretching into October.

Matt Wieters narrowly missed two homers – settling for a single and RBI double, while Nelson Cruz missed nothing whatsoever in his perfect swing on a monster two-run shot into the third deck. Together these hits drove in the three runs that gave the Baltimore Orioles a series opening 3-0 win.

Wieters is certainly an entirely new person this year from the left side of the plate. He has talked about some swing modifications, and the results are impressive. This is the hitter that was anticipated from the very beginning when Matt joined the Orioles organization.

The First Place Baltimore Orioles

The win moves the Orioles into first place in the AL East after Tampa Bay sent the Yankees to a 10-5 loss in 14 innings. The Yankees were 1-for-13 with RISP, including Derek Jeter having a chance to win the game with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 13th inning. Jeter was 0-for-7 for the game.

Saturday Afternoon Game Preview

The Baltimore Orioles will send Wei-Yin Chen to the mound with hopes to continue the current win streak. Chen comes in with a 3-1 record, though his 4.34 ERA has been bloated by 39 hits and seven walks over 29 innings. He did manage seven innings in his last start against the Royals, giving up only two runs.

Chen has had some excellent success in his two historic starts against the Twins – winning both games.

W

L

ERA

G

GS

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

AVG

WHIP

2014 Stats

3

1

4.34

5

5

29.0

39

14

14

1

7

23

.325

1.59

Versus Twins

2

0

2.25

2

2

12.0

11

3

3

0

1

8

.244

1.00

MLB Career

22

19

4.07

60

60

358.2

367

173

162

47

103

281

.265

1.31

 

The Orioles will be facing the veteran Kevin Correia who, like Chen, has two career starts against the Birds. Correia has had a rough beginning this season, with a record of 0-3 and ERA of 7.33. He was particularly roughed-up by the Tigers in this last start with seven runs on eight hits in two innings.

W

L

ERA

G

GS

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

AVG

WHIP

2014 Stats

0

3

7.33

5

5

27.0

37

25

22

2

8

12

.327

1.67

Versus Orioles

1

1

5.25

2

2

12

19

9

7

1

2

6

??

??

MLB Career

69

81

4.55

326

195

1278.1

1378

687

646

157

434

825

.277

1.42

 

I can guarantee that David Lough will be starting in left field. He is 6-for-8 with three doubles against Correia.  J.J. Hardy is 4-for-11, Delmon Young 3-for-9, and Markakis 2-for-3 with a double. Everything would point to the Orioles having the advantage in this game.

Tags: Baltimore Orioles Matt Wieters Wei-Yin Chen

  • http://BaltimoreWire Dave Gruber

    I am sending this after the O’s lost both games on the weekend. Let me start by giving credit to Jiminez for his terrific outing on Friday. I’ve been a vocal critic of him so I feel I have to be fair and give him credit when it is so richly deserved. Now having said that, I just watched Chen and Gonzalez both fail to go 6 innings against a Twins team that is not the most potent offense in baseball. My point is, and I apologize if I sound like a broken record, but when are the O’s going to give Britton an opportunity to start a few games and see what he can do? He has been fantastic all spring and now a month into the season. I get it that pitching to a few hitters in relief is totally different than facing a lineup two or three times but it seems to me he deserves a chance. His velocity is better than it has ever been and his sinker has been almost unhittable. Now that Patton is back I think it is the perfect opportunity to give the ball to Zack and see what he can do as a starter for at least a few games.

    • Randy Buchman

      Hey Dave … I’m just seeing your remark here at 9:30 on Monday night. Hey– great minds think alike, because, as I guess you’ve seen, I wrote the very same thing as you suggest as an article today. I wanted to add the point about Patton being back in the article, and then forgot to do so … and you reminded me of that very true component. There would be some transition to stretch Britton out, but gosh, it’s not like it is a huge goal compared to what is happening.

      • Randy Buchman

        Hey John… it just keeps getting weirder and weirder with the pitching, doesn’t it? Ubaldo was the star of the last rotation of the rotation! Thank God everyone else has problems too. When I use the word “ace” of Tillman, I’m using it in the sense of the perceived #1 guy on this team, not that he has achieved that status as compared to the elite class of top all-star type talent year in and year out around MLB.