Ubaldo Jimenez delivers another early clunker - and O's can't quite rebound - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Dan Connolly

Ubaldo Jimenez delivers another early clunker — and O’s can’t quite rebound

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

The Orioles put together a nice little rally in the ninth Friday night against the Houston Astros. Five runs — including a Jonathan Schoop three-run homer – in an eventual 8-7 loss.

But, really, hope for a victory died in the first inning. And was buried in the second.

Ubaldo Jimenez again did the honors.

Jimenez has pitched two games in the second half. He dug a 6-0 hole for the Orioles in the first one last Sunday against the Chicago Cubs. Then a 5-0 (and 7-1) deficit in Friday’s loss.

That’s deflating for any offense to try and overcome. And yet the Orioles almost did with that stirring ninth.

Sure, Richard Bleier had a hand in this loss, too. He gave up six hits and two runs in 2 2/3 innings,

But the defeat is squarely on Jimenez, who, frankly, and unfortunately for him, gave up as many soft, seeing-eye hits as he did hard ones Friday.

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“It’s a little frustrating, but it’s part of the game,” Jimenez said of the weak hits that found holes. “Sometimes, they hit the ball hard and they hit it right at someone. I’m in this spot right now where they hit it soft and they find the hole; they hit it hard and it’s going to be out of the park.”

Jimenez (4-6, 7.19 ERA) allowed 10 hits and six runs in 5 1/3 innings Friday and has given up 21 hits in his last two outings. In his last four games since his two-hit, scoreless gem at Toronto on June 29, he’s been tagged for 21 runs in 19 innings (9.95 ERA).

The question is now what happens with Jimenez, who is still owed roughly $5 million on his four-year, $50 million deal. Will he make his next start or maybe be put in the bullpen?

“It’s always a possibility,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said about Jimenez in a relief role. “But you can say that about a few other guys, too. Certainly, another topic after he has a tough outing and I understand why. But we’ll see. He’s capable of better.”

The other possibility, of course, is the Orioles eating the remaining money and designating him for assignment. The club has been unwilling to do that in the past, partially because of the money, but also because Jimenez has rebounded from bullpen demotions and pitched well in spurts. Frankly, the Orioles don’t have much obvious help in Triple-A, either.

Showalter was asked whether he thought someone from Norfolk might be able to help – even if that pitcher’s numbers have been poor as well, such as Jayson Aquino (3-7, 4.34 ERA at Triple-A).

“Yes, there is. There’s always that possibility. Now, you’ve got seven pitching staffs in the organization. There’s a lot of guys, if that’s the description. But there’s a lot of ramifications that come with it,” Showalter said. “Obviously, the priority when you start a season is the major league club, getting in the playoffs and winning a championship. I’m focused on trying to make what we have — which has been good at times and in the past — as good as it can be. It’s capable of better, and that’s where I’m dwelling. I look at box scores and what have you. There are people down there capable of pitching well up here, that’s for sure.”

To be fair, and in full disclosure, I really thought Jimenez would have a solid season this year, for various reasons. I wrote it in April, and have been getting hammered for it since.

But I dropped that platform a while back. He’s a truly stand-up guy, but he’s just not able to be counted on in the rotation.

I’m not sure who is better. But the results can’t be much worse.

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. ATCguy

    July 22, 2017 at 12:17 am

    I swear… by everything I’ve ever heard and/or read, he’s a great teammate and a good guy. I don’t doubt that. I’m sure we works hard. But the end of his contract (by whatever means) just can’t come soon enough. To borrow a line from an old movie… He’s “a bad effect on our allies, and gives aid and comfort to the enemy.”

    I wish him nothing but the best… but can’t wait to see him go.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 23, 2017 at 1:29 pm

      It’s an understandable and rational argument. He was paid a ton and didn’t produce. That’s the reality.

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    July 22, 2017 at 7:10 am

    Yep … another early clunker by Ubaldo. Pretty disappointing. All I can think of today is what a difference 240 miles of I45 makes in the state of Texas.

    Oh well … let’s see what the boys can do tonight.

    Go O’s!

    • Dan Connolly

      July 23, 2017 at 1:44 pm

      These aren’t your father’s Astros.

  3. Osfan73

    July 22, 2017 at 9:14 am

    Release him or put him back in the bullpen, whichever. But please no more starts. He just cannot be depended on and with all the early deficits he allows it HAS to be a mental drain on this team. Give some other younger guys a shot. I could understand losing some games going that direction as opposed to repeatedly trotting out Jimenez who has shown that he consistently can’t get the job done.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 23, 2017 at 1:44 pm

      We just leaned Sunday he will be starting Wed at Tampa Bay.

  4. Creatively_19

    July 22, 2017 at 11:22 am

    There seems to be something about Ubaldo and fireworks night that just doesn’t go well together. UBALDO!!! YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO SUPPLY THE FIREWORKS TO THE VISITING TEAM!

    • Dan Connolly

      July 23, 2017 at 1:45 pm

      They should check the schedule.

  5. Bancells Moustache

    July 22, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    He’s gotta go. Been saying it for two years now. You can’t keep a guy pitching who can be the worst starter in baseball on the hope he turns unhittable once every few months. And not to the bullpen either. Gone. Go ask Edwin Encarnacion why. I know he’s supposed to be one of the nicest men on the planet or whatever, but the Orioles hired him to be a pitcher, not a minister. Just end it. Take the financial haircut and the ass-chewing from a certain Baltimore city tort lawyer and move on.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 23, 2017 at 1:48 pm

      Well, if you’ve been saying it for 2 years then you said it in 2015, when he was 12-10 with a 4.11 ERA in 30 starts. Which would currently be the ace on this club. Has he been bad for a chunk of this contract, yes. But people forget he’s had stretched where he has been serviceable of better. Does that justify this year? No. Not at all. But I try to look at it all as one.

  6. Winger

    July 22, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    Not sure what all the Ubaldo complaints are about. He made it all the way to the top of the first before he got in trouble and blew another round of beers.
    For the life of me I don’t understand why Buck doesn’t walk out to the pen and make the pitching change during warmups.
    It would speed up game

    • Dan Connolly

      July 23, 2017 at 1:48 pm

      Buck is on the committee to speed up the game.

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