How ya like Ubaldo now? - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Dan Connolly

How ya like Ubaldo now?

Jimenez_Ubaldo_08252016_47
Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

Don’t look now, but the Orioles are tied with the Toronto Blue Jays for the top AL Wild Card spot with three games to play.

They won two of three in their personal house of horrors, the Rogers Centre, and are now battling for a chance to host the Wild Card game at Camden Yards and not have to return to Toronto.

And you have Ubaldo Jimenez to thank.

Yes, that Ubaldo.

The one that was so terrible for four months. The one so many Orioles fans – the Ubaldo Pitchfork Mob, I liked calling them — wanted to cut and have management eat $20+ million through 2017.

The Orioles couldn’t do that because they knew at any moment Jimenez could figure out his complicated mechanics, throw strikes with deception and morph into the pitcher they thought he’d be when they signed him to a four-year, $50 million deal before the 2014 season.

And they absolutely, positively did not want him doing that for another team on their dime.

So the Ubaldo Pitchfork Mob screamed, and Orioles manager Buck Showalter stuck Jimenez back into the rotation when Chris Tillman got hurt in late August.

In his last seven starts, Jimenez is 3-2 with a 2.45 ERA. Opponents are hitting .170 against him. On Thursday, he allowed one hit and three walks while striking out five in 6 2/3 innings.

And it was against the Blue Jays. With the season on the line. A tremendous gut-check performance.

Yeah, that Ubaldo.

28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. AlaskanOsFan

    September 29, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    All year from me UhOh, UBall4O, UGoneO…today…UBeastO…lol…now can we get maybe two more starts in the playoffs like that O-Please-O? Lol

  2. Major Award

    September 29, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    My wife (an Orioles fan since we started dating in the early 70s) keeps reminding me Ubaldo’s been a different pitcher since he returned from paternity leave. Surely she’s not the only one who picked up on that.

    • Kiernen

      September 29, 2016 at 10:56 pm

      Your wife isn’t alone on that one. It might be coincidence (and it probably is), but he does seem more relaxed since his daughter was born.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 29, 2016 at 11:12 pm

      He absolutely is much more relaxed now. Very religious guy. Think he stopped worrying so much after baby was born. Maybe further realized there are other things besides baseball.

  3. DPG0124

    September 29, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    He certainly looks like he’s figured it out (at least until next year when he loses it again)

    • SMAC8567

      September 29, 2016 at 10:55 pm

      I don’t care about next year. Get me three more starts like tonight’s the rest of the way, and he can revert back to the old Jubaldo

  4. bill-s

    September 29, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    If Buck keeps the rotation in sequence, Ubaldo pitches the wildcard game, and I am perfectly fine with that. I never thought I would ever say that!

    • Dan Connolly

      September 29, 2016 at 11:13 pm

      Can’t imagine that’s not Tillman’s spot. 16-game winner. Bulldog. Deserves it.

    • Tiss

      September 29, 2016 at 11:49 pm

      I agree with Dan. Gotta think Bundy, Miley, and Gausman are penciled in for the Yanks series. Although after the first two games this weekend in NY and Boston (where the Jays head next and Boston will still be the fighting for seeding in the AL playoffs), if the O’s are locked into any position, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Buck start one of the W boys (Worley, Wilson, or Wright) Sunday and then he’s got his choice of all three of Gaus, Tilly, or Jimenez Tuesday in the Wild Card game Tuesday.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 30, 2016 at 10:10 am

      I’d agree there. But given the choice and assuming he is healthy I can’t imagine Tillman not getting that Tues assignment.

  5. claudecat

    September 29, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    I was a member of the Ubaldo Pitchfork Mob, not that I ever booed him or anything. I’ve always loved the guy as a human being, but it got to be too much. Now? I’m glad that smarter people than me make the decisions, and couldn’t be happier for the guy.

    In my defense, I was way ahead of the curve with my love for Kim – from the second he was signed I knew he’d be a good one. It was an embarrassment how he was treated, and he still gets too little playing time in my view. Pearce playing the outfield in his stead was a travesty. A travesty I say! Sorry… my internal Foghorn Leghorn went off there…

    • Dan Connolly

      September 30, 2016 at 10:11 am

      It’s been all about lefty-righty matchups but I would like to see Kim play more against lefties.

      • claudecat

        October 1, 2016 at 1:23 am

        I’ve been beating that drum for a while now, the play im against lefties thing. When Reimold is the alternative…

        Oh, and it hasn’t been completely splits-dependant either. Pearce started a couple games, maybe more, against righties. Completely ridiculous given that we knew of Pearce’s bad throwing arm. Dumb dumb dumb. And Bourn has started a few times too in Kim’s stead. Less objectionable.

        While I’m on Bourn, why does he have to play the corner spots late in games? He’s a demonstrably better center-fielder than Jones!

  6. Boog Robinson Robinson

    September 30, 2016 at 7:12 am

    It’s amazing how many more comments are after a series like this last one isn’t it? Welcome back everyone!

    Dan … may I remind you that not ALL of us wanted Ubaldo lynched. I’m not exactly suggesting that we glass-half-full types were particularly thrilled with his performance, but some of us actually stated that we’d rather go down with Ubaldo than watch Dylan hurt his arm again when Jimenez’s lost his spot in the rotation. Some of us clung to the repeated history of Ubaldo being a late season success as a ray of hope. Even a certain writer around here reminded us of that history a time or two if memory serves me.

    So you now ask, “How ya like Ubaldo now”?

    Me gusta mucho más que hace dos Montes! Me encanta Ubaldo!

    Go O’s … I’m officially back on the bandwagon!

    • Dan Connolly

      September 30, 2016 at 10:12 am

      Your seat was always warm.

    • bigdaddydk

      September 30, 2016 at 10:31 am

      I admit that I cheered when he went to the bullpen, particularly while Bundy entered the rotation and appeared to be coming into his own. I think that was good for both of them actually. I’ve seen both sides of Ubaldo since he’s been in Baltimore, and I keep hoping that the Ubaldo that won 19 games in Colorado has re-emerged. In any case, this has worked out quite well and Ubaldo has been integral in keeping the O’s in contention since August.

    • marcshank

      September 30, 2016 at 5:02 pm

      I began to think they rushed Dylan into the starting rotation and then left him in too long per game. You could see his fastball go from 97 to 93, which may be common, but an indication to me it was time to pull him earlier. Buck always stressed “Next year, next year” with him, but the pitching problems forced his hand. I’d like to see him in the bullpen for all three games and start, say Worley and move on the Wright. Give Dylan the proper rest and he’ll reward you with fastballs in the upper nineties.

  7. Bancells Moustache

    September 30, 2016 at 7:26 am

    Ubaldo Jimenez ERA as Dominican Citizen: 5.98

    Ubaldo Jimenez ERA as U.S. Citizen: 0.21

    Make America Great Again

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 30, 2016 at 7:38 am

      God Bless the USA!

      As an aside, I noticed last night that Richie no longer has a Moustache. Tell me, is that a recent development or have I just been sleeping at the wheel all year?

      • Bancells Moustache

        September 30, 2016 at 8:20 am

        Sadly, Richie has been clean shaven for a few years now. The screen name stands as a memorial and testament to one of the finest collections of facial follicles Baltimore ever knew.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          September 30, 2016 at 8:53 am

          That IS sad, although I was always partial to Sammy Stewart’s.

  8. karks

    September 30, 2016 at 9:58 am

    You have to give him credit and it’s good to see him succeed. He cares so much about helping this team and wants to perform up to his salary. Maybe he never becomes a consistent starter but he should be commended for not getting down on himself during the bad times. How many guys could withstand the struggles and come back again and again?

    • Dan Connolly

      September 30, 2016 at 10:13 am

      Excellent points Kark. Guy just kept working. Always had smile on his face. Good story.

  9. bigdaddydk

    September 30, 2016 at 10:22 am

    I’ve long been a fan of Ubaldo Jimenez as a human being. He comes across as a really great guy, a good teammate, and a hard worker. He’s also been a different pitcher before and after the ASG. The biggest things that really stand out for me when I look at his splits before and after are that he’s brought down the HRs/9 from 1.1 to about .9, and he’s reduced his BB/9 from 5.5 to about 3.3. So, he’s giving up fewer long balls, and when he does there’s a greater likelihood of runners being on base. That works out to a WHIP of 1.99 before the break (2 runners on per inning, on average) to 1.02 after. That’s a significant improvement. It also looks like he’s not being hit quite as hard since his BABIP has come down quite a bit, or he’s a beneficiary of some extraordinary luck. But I’ve seen most of his starts since the ASG and I don’t recall that he’s had the benefit of a disproportionate number of spectacular defensive plays. I think he’s just worked out a mechanical issue during his exile to the bullpen.

    I’m really happy for the guy, and I hope this carries over to next year and that he’s a bona fide middle or back end of the rotation starter. I’d love to see Miley continue his recent successes too. In both cases, I’ll take the wait and see approach, but here’s to hope!

    • bigdaddydk

      September 30, 2016 at 10:24 am

      Correction: “and when he does there’s a ***lower*** likelihood of runners being on base.”

    • Dan Connolly

      September 30, 2016 at 12:23 pm

      Yep. All about mechanics and control for him. And those 2 breed confidence.

  10. RagingC

    October 1, 2016 at 9:50 am

    I’d like to point out that when Ubaldo got moved to the bullpen, he could be found in Patterson park most days working on his delivery and mechanics. Hard work and resilience are rewarded by the baseball gods. Behind the scenes with no fanfare, just doing work. Couldn’t be happier for him.

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