Ubaldo Jimenez got the Grapefruit League start Tuesday against Toronto at Ed Smith Stadium.
Nothing real newsworthy there, except the last time he faced the Blue Jays was a slightly different situation: The AL Wild Card game on Oct. 4, a game in which he allowed a walkoff homer to Edwin Encarnacion in the 11th inning to end the Orioles’ season.
That moment will always be debated in Orioles’ circles; Jimenez, a starter, was summoned in a tied game while all-world closer Zach Britton remained in the bullpen.
Tuesday was a different scenario, different lineup, lots of palm trees.
Jimenez said there were no flashbacks of that last pitch to Encarnacion (who is now with Cleveland), no turning back the clock in his mind.
“No, no. I didn’t even think about that,” Jimenez said. “I just wanted to go out there and get my pitch count up and throw all my pitches, and I think that’s what I did today, especially after that first inning.”
Jimenez lasted four innings, giving up four earned runs on five hits and three walks while striking out five. The line was a little rougher than the actual outing. Jimenez initially pitched three scoreless innings and, at one point, retired eight of nine. He wiggled out of a two-walk jam in the first with consecutive strikeouts.
But Jimenez was charged with four runs in the fourth, which was set up by a one-out, bases-empty pop-up that fell in between catcher Caleb Joseph, first baseman Chris Davis and Jimenez.
“That’s something that happened in the game, but I was trying hard to get out of that inning without any damage,” Jimenez said. “But that’s how the game goes sometimes. It’s not like I was thinking about it, but I wanted to get out of that inning for us.”
Jimenez threw 76 pitches – 50 for strikes – and was pleased with his overall performance.
“After the first inning, I was able to throw all my pitches. I was cruising along, attacking the hitters,” he said. “Split, slider, changeup, every pitch was in the strike zone until the last inning. (Then) We got in trouble a little bit.”