Baltimore Orioles fourth year starter, Ubaldo Jiménez pitched an absolute gem last night in Cincinnati.
Jimenez pitched superbly last night as the Baltimore Orioles went on to defeat the Cincinnati Reds, 2-0. Jiménez hurled 108 pitches (62 strikes) in 7.2 innings, allowing just two hits and four walks. As high as that pitch count was, it was more than he threw in just 4.1 innings last Wednesday.
Back to my question. A good start from Ubie was coming, and it just so happened to coincide with a team that he’s never lost against. I highlighted this in Monday’s blog.
Taking away his complete game vs. the Tampa Bay Rays last September, you have to go way back to May of last season to find the last time Jiménez threw more than seven innings. In fact, Jiménez tossed eight innings on May 7, the second game of a doubleheader, giving up two runs, on nine hits. Ultimately, Jiménez earned his second win of the season with that gem.
By the way, “Ubie” is a neat nickname, so I must thank Twitter user Jabby Burns (@Jabbyburns) for making that one possible. Nothing beats a good nickname to shorten a player name, right? Raffy, Miggy, Gibby, B-Rob, Jonesy, Nicky, for example, are great nicknames, and Ubie can fit right in.
Sorry, I digress.
What did Ubaldo’s performance last night do for the pitching staff?
Jiménez’ quality starts last night was the Orioles’ fifth-in-six games. The exception was Gausman on Tuesday evening. Jiménez’ 7.2 innings last night was the longest outing by a starter so far this season. The bullpen gained some much-needed rest.
Alec Asher was also moved to the bullpen for last night’s game, in the event of a fresh arm being needed for long relief.
That wasn’t necessary.
Last night’s game marked just the fourth time this season the Orioles used only two pitchers from the bullpen.
A taxed Orioles ‘pen could use another night of two or fewer pitchers being used. Pitchers from the bullpen have logged 44.1 innings this season, however, since April 13, they’ve logged just 18 innings over six games.
The bullpen ERA is down to 3.67.
What comes next for Jiménez?
Without skipping any starts, Ubie would get the nod next against the Rays, at home in Baltimore on Monday. If the past is any indication, he may toss another solid game.
In eight lifetime starts against the Rays, Jiménez holds a 5-2 record, with a 3.19 ERA. His last meeting with Evan Longoria and company came on September 16, 2016. That night, Jiménez pitched, wouldn’t you know it, seven innings, and allowed four earned runs on seven hits, while striking out eight.
That start followed Jiménez’ complete game shut-out from eleven days prior, against as mentioned earlier, the Tampa Bay Rays.
I would expect Ubie to have success again in his next appearance based solely on his success against them in the past, and the fact that he does pitch slightly better in front of the home crowd.
I seem to write about Ubaldo Jiménez a lot, and I try not to discuss his starts negatively. I like him. He’s a great guy who puts in the effort to improve himself and does not parade around as if his bad outings are just part of the game. He understands his struggles and works hard to do better.
His tenure with the Baltimore Orioles won’t be remembered as a successful four-year deal that brought life back to the Orioles rotation. However, there is still time for him to turn it around, and finish his contract on a positive note.
Watching last night’s start, he may be heading in the right direction.