Numerous players on the Baltimore Orioles depth chart must improve as the Orioles enter the second half of the Major League Baseball season sitting outside the playoff picture with a 42-46 record.
The Baltimore Orioles are a team that is not out of it yet. And, whether the team should be buyers or sellers is an argument worth considering, especially considering the volume of average teams in the American League.
But, that topic is better saved for a few weeks from now, when the now-healthy Orioles have a better grasp on what to do at the trade deadline.
Here are the five most important players for the Orioles if they hope to make a playoff run in the second half of the season.
5. Ubaldo Jimenez, SP
You knew Jimenez was going to be on this list, right?
This is the last year of Ubaldo’s contract, making this the last few months he will pitch in an Orioles’ uniform.
The chance he gets re-signed is slim to none. I feel like Oriole fans would revolt if he was.
Jimenez has 10 starts of less than five innings. He has three starts of five innings, and five starts of more than five innings.
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Among those games are several gems. Think back to the April 19 game against the Cincinnati Reds. 7.2 IP, 2 H, 4 BB, 3 Ks, 0 ER allowed for his first win (and first decision) of the year. All coming against a team with a pretty good offense.
Then there is the June 29 game against Toronto. 8 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 8 Ks, 0 ER allowed. It was arguably his finest start as an Oriole.
Some of the clunkers have been bad. April 29 against the Yankees, he went 3.1 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO, 2 HR. It wasn’t good.
Then there was the June 23 start against Tampa Bay, just one week before his best game of the season. 2.1 IP 7 H, 9 ER, 4 BB, 1 SO, 2 HR. His worst start of the year.
Ubaldo is the definition of an enigma. You just never know when he is going to show up and pitch a gem when he is going to stink up the joint, and when he might give you five innings and four runs allowed.
Jimenez is a guy who is historically better in the second half of seasons, although not by a wide margin.
For the Orioles to contend for a playoff spot. They need Jimenez to be on his game. Even if that means five innings and four runs, it sure is better than three innings and six runs.
He’ll be gone come 2018, but for now, Oriole fans need Jimenez to help this team to the playoffs.