You never could have imagined this scenario a month ago. Maybe even two weeks ago.
But Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Wednesday’s starter against the Boston Red Sox – previously listed as TBD – is expected to be Ubaldo Jimenez and not Yovani Gallardo.
Showalter said it just “falls appropriately.”
Take a moment to consider this.
Ubaldo Jimenez, the poster boy for bad contracts, the guy who nearly every Orioles fan wanted to tar and feather in April and May and June and July, is now being given the ball in the biggest home series of the season in September.
It’s a pretty remarkable turnaround – for much of this year, the storyline has been how to hide Jimenez on this roster because the club wasn’t going to eat the $20-million-plus owed through 2017.
But now the Orioles are choosing Jimenez over Gallardo in a big game.
Showalter hedged the news, saying he hadn’t confirmed it officially with pitching coach Dave Wallace. But “that’s where he is leaning.”
Jimenez is 2-1 with a 3.28 ERA in his last five starts since being promoted from the bullpen Aug. 25. His season ERA has dropped an entire run – from 6.94 to 5.94 — in that span.
This is not one of those instances in which Showalter is choosing the starter with the good numbers against a particular club. In his career, Jimenez is 2-5 with a 7.39 ERA versus the Red Sox. So this is clearly about Jimenez being the better option right now because he is pitching better overall.
Gallardo is 1-3 with a 9.77 ERA in his past four starts and he also has had little success against the Red Sox in his career, 2-2 with a 5.28 in six starts.
So, yes, you’ve seen it all this season. Jimenez, who has been up and down through much of his career, is up again, and the Orioles are riding it.
One other point of note today: Showalter announced that Steve Pearce will undergo surgery to repair tendons in his right arm Wednesday morning in New York City. It’s not Tommy John surgery, as Showalter said Sunday, and so Pearce should be able to return to baseball within four to six months, which means the pending free agent should be ready for spring training.
In other injury news, Showalter said O’Day (shoulder), Trumbo (back) and Miley (upper back) seemed to be pretty good Monday after playing in Sunday’s game.
Showalter was non-committal on whether Miley, who left before the fifth inning Sunday with a mild upper back strain, will start this weekend against the Arizona Diamondbacks, his former team.