Prior to yesterday’s game in Cleveland, Orioles fans were feeling a little more positive about the current road trip, even though with the victory, it snapped a 4-game losing streak. The thought of possibly getting another winning streak established, and winning this series, which would essential give us a 2-1 series record on this trip, was fresh in the minds of all fans as they clicked on MASN at 4:10pm. Enter Ubaldo Jimenez.
After Carlos Santana singled to lead off the bottom of the 1st, Jason Kipnis walked, and so began the beginning of the end of the shortest outing of the year for Ubaldo. When all was said and done in the 1st, the Indians sent 9 men to the plate, scoring 4 times, and effectively labeling this as “just another poor start” for Ubaldo. Honestly, the highlight of the inning has to be the stolen base by Mike Napoli, his 35th….of his career, which spans 1,161 games dating back to May 4, 2006.
When asked about the stolen base from Napoli, Ubaldo said, “maybe I didn’t pay too much attention”. Yes. This sums it up perfectly.
Ultimately, Ubaldo was tabbed with his 6th loss on the year in an outing that lasted 1.2 IP, and wound up finishing with a line that included 5 hits, on 6 runs, in which only 3 were earned, while walking 3. He also wound up throwing 50 pitches, 25 of them for strikes.
So when will enough be enough?
As much as I would love to say that this is going to be the end of the line for Ubaldo, it won’t be. As much as I would love to say that Ubaldo isn’t going to pitch in an Orioles uniform again, he will. As much as I would love to say yesterday was Ubaldo’s last start for the Orioles, again, it won’t be. You can actually count on him starting against Boston, more than likely on Thursday night. That is unless we see a rain out, or a starter is skipped.
On February 19, 2014, Ubaldo Jimenez was signed to a 4-year contract, for $50 million, the largest contract for a pitcher in Orioles history. Since his debut in an Orioles uniform on April 2, 2014, in a 6-2 loss to Boston, as ironic as that sounds, Ubaldo has posted a 20-25 record, with a 5.09 ERA in 64 starts. When signed back in 2014, it was expected of Ubaldo to at least have that record be flipped. I mean, with as up and down as he has been, we’d love for him to have a 25-20 record.
Now I don’t know much about salaries, I’m not a scout, nor am I a financial advisor, but I an all but guarantee you the Orioles are not going to cut Ubaldo when he is still owed $13.5MM in 2017.
So what do we do from here?
Well, if anybody can guide Ubaldo to the nearest pothole…. No, no, I am just kidding with that, I never want to see anybody get injured. At the same time though, it may be time to move on with the Ubaldo in the rotation experiment. Yovani Gallardo should be making his return soon, and he is most definitely going to take Ubaldo’s place in the rotation. It would be a miracle to still have Ubaldo in there when Gallardo is activated. If in fact Ubaldo remains in the rotation when Gallardo makes his way back from the DL, I can assure you the first run that he gives up in his first outing, will garner ALOT of attention from the media, and from Birdland as a whole.
If we’re going to be playing cold baseball in October, we are going to need to realize that it may not be in our best interest to keep Jimenez in the rotation, and pitching every fifth day. Maybe a trip to the bullpen will do him some good, but then again, his mechanics are going to be the same, and his arm flaling is still going to be identical to how it was starting ballgames. Maybe his rotation needs a complete overhaul, such as it was in 2015, however, if that’s going to be the fix, it needs to happen yesterday.
At the end of the day though Birdland, I hate to break it to you but Ubaldo Jimenez is going nowhere. Are we stuck with him in the rotation, giving up 6 or 7 runs each outing, and putting the O’s behind from the get-go? Eh, that’s not a question for me to answer, but I can most definitely give you my opinion, the opinion of a fan, who is growing tired of seeing the same ol’ same ol’ from a guy who is getting paid more for every run scored against him, than I’ll ever see in a lifetime.