Myriad O's Thoughts: Winning with a so-so Ubaldo; powering up; 5,000 homers in Baltimore - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Dan Connolly

Myriad O’s Thoughts: Winning with a so-so Ubaldo; powering up; 5,000 homers in Baltimore

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

Sunday’s 12-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers is exactly the kind of game the Orioles needed to win.

They needed to be victorious on a day Ubaldo Jimenez gutted out a start.

It wasn’t good Ubaldo. It wasn’t bad Ubaldo. It was both just about every inning. Jimenez allowed two Tigers to reach base in all six of the frames he pitched. He gave up nine hits and walked three.

Yet Jimenez worked out of every jam. He allowed just one run – a solo homer to Nick Castellanos in the fifth inning after he struck out the first two batters of the inning.

“It wasn’t pretty, but I got the job done. I was happy that I was able to compete. And they didn’t make it easy for me at all,” Jimenez said. “They got a lot of hits. They took a good approach, hitting the ball to the opposite field. But our guys picked me up. Our guys scored a lot of runs and they played great defense.”

It’s impossible to truly understand the psyche of Jimenez. Going through the rough stretches he’s had in his time in Baltimore would have broken many pitchers. Jimenez, though, just keeps pushing through beyond the ether of all those stinkers, and ends up helping his team for periods.

And maybe he is on one of those runs now, like he compiled in his final eight starts of 2016, when he had a 2.39 ERA,

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We all know the Good Ubaldo is in there, but he comes out too infrequently.

So, there is a positive to be gleaned when he doesn’t pitch well, but also doesn’t implode.

“It feels good,” Jimenez (5-7, 6.31 ERA) said. “It feels good to be able to go out there and it doesn’t matter how many runners I’ve got on base. I was able to minimize the damage. Because of the guys. They made great plays.”

It seems like when Jimenez is going poorly, every guy he walks scores. Every bad pitch he makes ends up as a souvenir. When things are bad, he can’t get out of his own way. Sunday was the opposite. He kept the runners from scoring and didn’t give back a huge lead.

“It kind of surprised me when I looked out there and saw nine hits. I thought he had pretty good stuff. He’s been carrying a good fastball for a long time. He’s been able to get back in some counts with a well-located fastball instead of a centered fastball. He made a lot of 2-0 quality fastball strikes today,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “And I didn’t think the split was quite there like it was before, but pitching with that lead, going out there and hanging zeroes after we score was a good mentality for our club.”

Jimenez has now allowed four earned runs in his past three games, a span of 18 2/3 innings (1.93 ERA). Maybe it’s a blip; maybe it’s a trend. Always impossible to know with Jimenez. But, as Showalter likes to say, it’s better than the alternative.

Power up, Orioles

You have to go back to 2012 for the last time an Oriole didn’t win the American League home run crown. That season, Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera mashed his way to the title with 44.

Every season since, an Oriole has led the league in homers, whether it was Chris Davis (2015 and 2013), Mark Trumbo (2016) or Nelson Cruz (2014).

Jonathan Schoop, who hit his team-leading 25th on Sunday, is gonna have to get white-hot to catch the New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who has 35, and the six players in between.

But it’s not as if the Orioles, after a middling power display early, aren’t still bashing the ball. They entered Sunday fifth in the AL in homers. Then hit five more, so at 160, they are tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for third in the league, trailing only the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers in the AL.

“I don’t know where we are compared to last year and is it because everybody else is hitting more or less?” Showalter said. “I don’t even look at it. It’s about run production.”

The Orioles hit a majors’ best 253 homers last year, and at one point were on pace to surpass the all-time record (264 by the 1997 Seattle Mariners).

This year, they are one pace for 233, a lot but not record-breaking.

Still, what’s interesting about this lineup is it already has three with 20 or more, and three more guys with at least 17. So, they are likely to have six players hit the 20-home run plateau, the same as last year.

And that doesn’t include Tim Beckham, who has 15 homers, but the first 12 were with the Tampa Bay Rays.

“We were scuffling for a while. Nothing’s been going our way,” said Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, who hit his 20th homer and had five RBIs on Sunday. “We weren’t hitting homers. it’s just part of the game. There’s ups and downs to it, there’s a rollercoaster. Each guy tries to get on the wave and see what happens.”

Interesting tidbits about 10,000 O’s homers; 5,000 at home

Tim Beckham hit his third homer as an Oriole on Saturday, and it just happened to be the 10,000th in modern franchise history (dating back to 1954).

The Orioles’ put out a pretty cool infographic about the home runs.

Here are some of the highlights, or at least the ones that made me go. ‘huh?’

First basemen have hit the most homers in franchise history, 1,618. That’s not a surprise when sluggers such as Boog Powell, Eddie Murray, Rafael Palmeiro and Davis have played the position for the Orioles. Second most is right field (1,268), followed by left field (1,244).

Interesting to me that catcher (1,080) and center fielder (1,063) are so close. We think of catchers as having pop and center fielder as more of a speed position, but the Orioles have had some homer-hitting center fielders (Brady Anderson, Adam Jones) over the years.

Cal Ripken Jr. has the most home runs in O’s history (431), but neither shortstop nor third base – his two positions – were in Top 3. Shortstop (829) was the least homer-happy of regular positions; though pitchers, of course, were the lowest with 70 (designated hitters had 886).

The Orioles have homered most against the New York Yankees at home and most at Fenway Park on the road.

The breakdown of the first 10,000 at home was 2,490 at Memorial Stadium (1954-1991) and 2,505 at Camden Yards (1991-2017).

The Orioles were five shy of 5,000 at home heading into Sunday, but they took care of that with an onslaught against Detroit. Machado’s fourth-inning longball was the modern-day Orioles’ 5,000th in Baltimore.

They weren’t all hit Sunday. It just seemed like it.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. woody

    August 6, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    Great effort shown – could/should have taken that series 3-1. Yeah Ubaldo got lucky tonight – but a lucky game line where you’re 4-0 after an inning shouldn’t be over-scrutinized. His job from then on was to avoid a disaster inning – he nailed it.

    Massive road trip ahead. 5-5 or better and we’re in the mix.

    • Dan Connolly

      August 6, 2017 at 11:39 pm

      Gotta be better than 5-5. Games dwindling. Have to make up ground. Schedule gets brutal in last month.

      • AlaskanOsFan

        August 7, 2017 at 2:10 pm

        Yeah I think it will come down to that mid Sept AL East run thru for both the East and a WC spot…

  2. Osfan73

    August 6, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    Just so Ubaldo is able to limit any damage and keep the Os in the game, that’s all I want from him rest of the way. And if that’s what ‘good Ubaldo’ is going to look like here on out so be it. Our offense and bullpen can deal with that, but not his 2nd or 3rd inning catastrophes.

    3 Os with 17 homers and 3 Os with 20+ homers makes for a balanced lineup. That can be hard mentally on opposing pitchers. Works to our advantage.

    • Dan Connolly

      August 6, 2017 at 11:40 pm

      He won’t be able to limit damage if he gives up 2 baserunners per inning. But I like what he showed today.

    • AlaskanOsFan

      August 7, 2017 at 2:11 pm

      And I don’t think anyone would have though that Trumbo/Davis would be on the tail end of that HRs stat….please lock up Manny Angelos…that infield is looking mighty future nice with the way Becks as come in a produced…

  3. GSISDANNO

    August 7, 2017 at 9:50 am

    This is a vital road trip for the Orioles and they need to win seven games of they want to be serious contenders. They are playing three teams and two of them have losing records while Seattle is one game over .500. I know it’s the West Coast but playoff teams need to win these games. It was encouraging the way they bounced back from Friday night’s heartbreaking loss to win the last two games against Detroit.
    I think it’s time to move Chris Davis down in the lineup. He is hurting the team in the fourth spot. His RBI total is meager compared to the rest of the lineup. I keep waiting for one of his hot streaks but I don’t know if we are going to get one. I think he is psyched out by these shifts he is facing and tries to hit everything over the shift.

    • Dan Connolly

      August 7, 2017 at 2:57 pm

      I can see Davis sixth, but not below that. Especially with Trumbo out.

  4. Mr Will

    August 12, 2017 at 1:21 am

    Another loss that should have been a win especially with excellent Ubaldo effort. Again, Buck batted Davis and Trumbo back to back…it doesn’t work anymore except for the opposition. Rare bad Brach but game should not have been so close as first three hitters set the table but bottom six in lineup added little.
    As I said before, this is not a playoff team. Perhaps in September the Os can give Castro, Bleier, Ascher some starts as we need to look ahead. Still pleasantly shocked at Beckam’s arrival and ascension to become an Orioles force, When JJ returns we can have a dynamic threesome of Trumbo, Davis and JJ…that should produce lots of 1 for 12, 0 for 12 or perhaps go crazy with two for 12. There must be some serious contenders who will take some deadwood off of our hands and let Santander and others give us a glimpse of 2018 and beyond so DD will know better what he needs for the post Manny farewell tour.. If they cannot sign him, trade must be done in Winter not July 31, 2018 for maximum return.
    Mr Will

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