Tag Archive | "Ubaldo Jimenez"

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

How to be a Baltimore Sports Fan: Issue One

Posted on 23 April 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

Baltimore sports fans are irrational, unrealistic, unforgiving, and hard-to-fool.  Baltimore sports fans are unlike any other sports fans, because they’re–as Toyota used to say–”simply the best.”

Every Wednesday, over the next 40-years or so, I’m going to author a semi-regular feature entitled “How to be a Baltimore Sports Fan.”  The idea behind this stems back to a conversation I had with some college students during my time as an English professor at a local community college.

The conversation went something like this:

Me:  ”This season might be another ‘Why Not’ year.”

Student #1:  ”Why not what?”

Me:  The “Why Not” season in 1989; the year the O’s went from worst to ‘almost’ first.

Student #2:  I was born in 1992.

Me:  Don’t you know any Baltimore history?

Student #3:  Ain’t this English class?

Me:  It is.  But you’re clearly struggling with speaking the Queen’s language–and you’re from Baltimore.

Student #3:  How you know dat?

Me:  I can tell by your accent.  I’m from Dundalk.  I could pick out a Bal-murr accent halfway around the world in a room full of people screaming Chinese expletives.

Alas, it’s this conversation that has sparked this column.  Some people–local youth, sheltered stepchildren, non-local-Ivy-Leaguers-of-the-”local media”–need some help on understanding what it means to be a Baltimore sports fan.

Without further ado.

How to be a Baltimore Sports Fan…

#1 Be Irrational: Fire Dave Wallace and release the entire starting rotation.

Miguel Gonzalez went five-and-two-thirds last night.  Wei Yin Chen went five the night before.  Ubaldo Jimenez hurled five-and-a-third on Sunday.  All three pitchers topped the 100 pitch mark.  It’s impossible, yes impossible, to win more than you lose when your starting rotation consistently throws a full-game worth of pitches at the half-way point in the game.

Show me a team who has a rotation that consistently gives way in the 6th and I’ll show you a sub-.500 record.

Perhaps we’re starting to see why Dave Wallace has been away from the Major Leagues since 2007.  Even though he’s still been around baseball, you have to wonder if his tactics and his style are working, some seven years later.

Think about it, what were you doing seven years ago?  Me, I was finishing college and chasing girls around Canton and Fed Hill.  If my wife ditched me tomorrow and I jumped right back into the bar scene, I’d be as effective as water-logged firewood.

 

#2 Be Unrealistic: The Wizards are 2-0 in the NBA Playoffs, build an arena and give Baltimore the ball!

The Wizards look legit.

Down in the fourth-quarter of both games in Chicago, the Wiz–coincidentally, that’s my name too–have come out on top and carry a 2-0 series lead back to the Mid-Atlantic region–Baltimore sports fans refuse to use the word that describes the area in which Congress meets to discuss their vacation plans and fantasy football teams.

All this Wizards’ success means that Baltimore should definitely build a new arena and focus on attracting an NBA team.

 

#3 Be Unforgiving:  Jonathan Schoop doesn’t belong in the Big Leagues.

He can hit.  He’s got some talent.  But he doesn’t understand the game of baseball and desperately needs to return to a slower-pace at Norfolk.

 

#4 Be Hard-To-Fool:  The Ravens aren’t looking for character guys, they’re looking for cheap talent.

Like it or not, the Baltimore Ravens have shifted their focus.  There was a time when the organization steered clear of troubled players–think of all the receivers they passed on during a time when the roster was devoid of anyone with play-making ability.  Brandon Marshall was a head-case, Chad Ochocinco-Martinez-Wong-Abdullah-Kazamakos-Johnson-Smith was a jerk, and so on.

If the flirtation with Rolando McClain proved anything, it’s that the Ravens have given in when it comes to looking past a players’ off-the-field issues or personal flaws.

Maybe it’s just the state of the NFL and society, but if you told me that this organization would have allowed itself to be yo-yoed around and attached to the negative press that Rolando McClain created, I’d have bet you’d first see Peter Angelos doing the Wild Bill O-R-I-O-L-E-S cheer atop the Orioles’ dugout in game seven of the World Series.

 

#5 Be The Best:  Ubaldo Jimenez needs some love.

This Friday night, in Baltimore, Jimenez will make his fifth start as an Oriole.  It’ll come against a spry and aggressive Kansas City lineup.  He’s ranged from horrendous to decent thus far.  If you’re at the Yard on Friday night, get behind Baltimore’s $50Million man.  Give him some love.

But if he gets chased after giving up more than five runs in less than five innings, boo him like he’s the lovechild of Billy Cundiff and Mark Teixeira

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (0)

Orioles still waiting for early return on $50 million investment

Tags: , , , , ,

Orioles still waiting for early return on $50 million investment

Posted on 13 April 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Even after investing a franchise-record amount of money for a free-agent starting pitcher, the Orioles knew they weren’t getting a sure-fire ace when they signed right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez to a four-year, $50 million contract in February.

His career has been consistently inconsistent, looking every bit the part of an ace at times and appearing more like a fringe fifth starter in other stretches of his major league career.

But the Orioles need much better than what they’ve gotten through three starts as Jimenez surrendered five earned runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings in Sunday’s 11-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays at Camden Yards. He gave up two more home runs and saw his record fall to 0-3 to accompany a 7.31 earned run average and 2.06 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched).

Whether giving up homers (four in 16 innings) or walks (10) in his first three outings — all against American League East opponents — the root of Jimenez’s struggles are simple to identify but more complicated to fix with unorthodox mechanics that require plenty of maintenance over the course of a six-month season.

“His command,” manager Buck Showalter said. “If you look at his history, he gets better as the year goes on. He’s actually pitched competitively for us. He’s real close to keeping us there.”

The Baltimore skipper was being generous in referencing Sunday’s deficit only being 3-1 entering the top of the sixth inning, but Jimenez started the game with a career 5.10 ERA in April, easily his worst month throughout his eight-year career. Last season, it was even worse as Jimenez posted a 7.13 ERA over his first five starts before rebounding to post a 3.30 ERA and help Cleveland qualify for the postseason.

But history doesn’t make Jimenez — or the Orioles — feel any better as he tries to make a strong impression to justify the long-term investment paid to him. Of course, three starts — good or bad — will not determine whether executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette made a wise addition this winter, but the Orioles added Jimenez with thoughts of the high ceiling he possesses when he’s right on the mound.

So far, he hasn’t been able to climb out of the basement as he gave up a Eutaw Street homer to Colby Rasmus in the first inning and a home run to Brett Lawrie with one out in the sixth before being lifted a batter later. Jimenez only gave up 16 home runs all last season and is a quarter of the way to that mark before Easter Sunday.

“Tough one, really bad one,” Jimenez said. “I couldn’t be there for the team once again. I’m missing right down the middle of the plate. I’ve been making too many mistakes right down the middle.”

It’s too soon to panic as Jimenez’s track record suggests he’ll be much better than what he’s shown, but the Orioles are counting on him to be a top-half-of-the-rotation starter to go along with Chris Tillman. Improved starting pitching is a must for Baltimore to get back to the playoffs for the second time in three years.

In fairness, Jimenez is just one of several problems to plague the Orioles in their 5-7 start as an underperforming offense was limited to just five runs over the weekend and the defense has been shaky with Gold Glove winners Manny Machado and J.J. Hardy missing time. The Orioles have no choice but to be patient with their free-agent prize, hoping the good Jimenez will surface sooner rather than later and provide the quality pitching he’s capable of for significant stretches.

It hasn’t been there in the first half of April, but Showalter expressed confidence after Sunday’s outing that Jimenez is “better than that.”

“He’s got the right mentality. He’s been through tough times before, but he wants it to end now,” Showalter said. “I guarantee you. I understand what the numbers say, but you guys have seen it. It’s very close to there being some quality outings, but at this level and against this competition, close sometimes gets you in trouble.”

And close isn’t good enough in the AL East.

Comments (3)

Jimenez own worst enemy in struggles against Yankees

Tags: , , , , ,

Jimenez own worst enemy in struggles against Yankees

Posted on 07 April 2014 by Luke Jones

The book on Orioles starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez throughout his major league career has been the tendency to be his own worst enemy.

With an array of pitches and ability that suggest he should be a perennial Cy Young Award candidate, Jimenez has instead struggled to find consistency due to command issues that once again plagued him in Monday’s 4-2 loss to the New York Yankees.

The right-hander surrendered eight hits — several of the bloop variety — and four earned runs over 4 2/3 innings at Yankee Stadium, but the five walks issued transformed a potentially-respectable outing into one in which he failed to make it out of the fifth inning and suffered his second loss of the season.

In addition to free passes elevating his pitch count, Jimenez began the bottom of the third with a walk to No. 9 hitter Yangervis Solarte, who scored the first run of the game on a double play. The Baltimore pitcher then walked Kelly Johnson with two outs an inning later to put a runner in scoring position before Solarte drove in the second New York run of the game.

Appropriately enough, Jimenez walked former Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts to conclude his rough 109-pitch outing before lefty Zach Britton entered to walk Johnson to force a run home in the fifth inning.

Jimenez entered Monday’s game averaging 4.0 walks per nine innings in his career — which equals former Baltimore pitcher Jake Arrieta’s frustrating career mark — and has never been able to work deep into games consistently because of high pitch counts and free passes. His 3.30 earned run average a year ago was his best since his 2010 All-Star season with Colorado, but Jimenez only managed to complete 182 2/3 innings in his 32 starts and hasn’t reached the 200-inning plateau since 2010 despite having made at least 31 starts in each of the last three seasons.

No one doubts Jimenez’s upside — it’s why the Orioles gave him a four-year, $50 million contract in February — but his propensity for issuing walks and throwing too many pitches won’t bode well competing against the American League East and its patient lineups if pitching coach Dave Wallace can’t help the 30-year-old keep his unorthodox mechanics in check.

Over the course of the season, you’re going to get the good Jimenez and the bad Jimenez, but the Orioles have seen too much of the latter through his two starts of the 2014 season.

Hardy still on mend

Shortstop J.J. Hardy missed his third game in four days on Monday as he continues to nurse lower back spasms that started on Friday in Detroit.

He told reporters prior to the series opener against the Yankees that his back was improving, but it remains unclear whether he will be available to play on Tuesday afternoon. It’s understandable that the Orioles wouldn’t want to be hasty in placing the veteran on the 15-day disabled list, but his back spams have left manager Buck Showalter shorthanded on the bench.

With two runners on and one out in the seventh, New York manager Joe Girardi summoned lefty Matt Thornton to face the left-handed Ryan Flaherty, a situation that typically calls for a pinch hitter. The problem was that Showalter was without another infielder as Delmon Young, Steve Pearce, and Steve Clevenger were his only available bench options.

Young and Pearce provide viable options against left-handed pitching, but their lack of versatility and speed isn’t ideal off the bench. Should Hardy be sidelined any longer, the Orioles may need to take a long look at adding another infielder to the 25-man roster as they’ve already leaned heavily on Flaherty, Steve Lombardozzi, and rookie Jonathan Schoop in the infield.

And it’s part of the reason why the Baltimore lineup has managed just 22 runs in its first seven games of the season.

Reimold shifted to 60-day DL

With the acquisition of right-handed pitcher Preston Guilmet from the Cleveland Indians on Monday, the Orioles transferred outfielder Nolan Reimold to the 60-day disabled list, which is just the latest disappointment in the 30-year-old’s career.

At this point, any health-related setback isn’t surprising for the right-handed hitter as he wasn’t progressing enough with his surgically-repaired neck to warrant a roster spot to begin the season. Monday’s development makes him ineligible to return until late May, and Showalter said Reimold continues to receive treatment on his neck in Sarasota.

There’s no question that Reimold has been through hell physically with two spinal fusion surgeries over the last two years, which is what made the Orioles’ decision to sign him to a one-year, $1.025 million deal over the winter so surprising. Inking him to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training would have been reasonable, but guaranteeing his contract seemed excessive at the time and certainly does now as he still isn’t 100 percent.

The good news for the Orioles is that they weren’t depending on Reimold to be a real contributor in the lineup as they were in each of he last two years as they acquired left fielder David Lough from Kansas City and signed designated hitter Nelson Cruz over the winter. Anything they get from Reimold is icing on the cake, but his shift to the 60-day DL certainly won’t create any optimism of him being able to contribute.

 

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bovada sets Chris Davis 2014 home run total at 39.5

Posted on 25 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV). Here are some of the more interesting player stats.

Baltimore Orioles

Chris Davis – Total HR’s in the 2014 Regular Season   

Over/Under                   39½

 

Chris Davis – Total RBI’s in the 2014 Regular Season  

Over/Under                   113½

 

Adam Jones – Total HR’s in the 2014 Regular Season  

Over/Under                   30½

 

Adam Jones – Total RBI’s in the 2014 Regular Season 

Over/Under                   95½

 

Nelson Cruz – Total HR’s in the 2014 Regular Season  

Over/Under                   25½

 

Matt Wieters – Total HR’s in the 2014 Regular Season  

Over/Under                   23½

 

J.J. Hardy – Total HR’s in the 2014 Regular Season      

Over/Under                   24½

 

Nick Markakis – BA in the 2014 Regular Season           

Over/Under                   .285

 

Ubaldo Jimenez – Total Wins in the 2014 Regular Season       

Over/Under                   12½

 

Chris Tillman – Total Wins in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under                   11½

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , ,

CBS’s Snyder does not think Orioles Jimenez is an ace but a decent 2 or 3

Posted on 26 February 2014 by WNST Audio

Comments (0)

Orioles remain in talks with Morales, Santana following Jimenez signing

Tags: , , , , ,

Orioles remain in talks with Morales, Santana following Jimenez signing

Posted on 21 February 2014 by WNST Staff

Even after signing starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez to a $50 million contract earlier this week, the Orioles may not be done adding significant pieces for the 2014 season.

Multiple reports indicate that Baltimore remains in discussions with free-agent starting pitcher Ervin Santana and free-agent designated hitter Kendrys Morales. Even though the Orioles’ payroll is now estimated to be $96 million, it appears that executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette may have been given the leeway to exceed the previously-set $100 million threshold discussed earlier in the winter.

According to The Sun, talks with Morales have intensified as the Orioles now only need to give up a second-round pick (55th overall) to sign another free agent made a qualifying offer by his former team. Morales might be willing to accept a short-term deal — perhaps two years — with an opt-out clause after the first year. Agent Scott Boras is notorious for requesting those for clients struggling to find good value in the open market.

Such an arrangement would potentially allow Morales to hit the open market while the Orioles would likely make him a qualifying offer of their own to then gain a supplemental pick in the following year’s draft. Under such a scenario, the Orioles would be sacrificing their second-round choice in the 2014 draft to potentially fetch a supplemental pick — which would fall between the first and second round — in the following year’s draft.

The 30-year-old Morales hit .277 with 23 home runs and 80 runs batted in while playing for the Seattle Mariners last season.

Meanwhile, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports the Orioles remain in contact with Santana despite having signed Jimenez to a four-year deal to add an experienced arm to their young starting rotation.

Santana went 9-10 with a 3.24 earned run average in 32 starts for the Kansas City Royals last season following eight years spent with the Los Angeles Angels.

Multiple outlets were also reporting late Friday afternoon that the Orioles remain in discussions for free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz.

Comments (0)

Tags: , ,

MLB Network’s Gammons believes Orioles could not afford to pass on Jimenez

Posted on 19 February 2014 by WNST Audio

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , ,

Orioles make four-year deal with Jimenez official

Posted on 19 February 2014 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles announced Wednesday that they have signed right-handed pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez to a four-year contract. Jimenez, 30, is 82-75 with a 3.92 ERA (1275.2IP, 556ER) in 212 career games (211 starts) with Colorado and Cleveland.

Among pitchers with at least 1,000 innings pitched since 2008, Jimenez ranks 6th in all of baseball with 0.7 HR/9.0 IP, tied for 7th with 195 starts, and 8th with a 1.57 GB/FB ratio, 61.1 ground ball percentage, and 8.35 K/9.0 IP. In that time, Jimenez is one of 10 pitchers to have made 31 or more starts in each season.

In 2013, Jimenez went 13-9 with a 3.30 ERA (182.2IP, 67ER) and ranked among the top 10 in the American League in K/9.0IP (4th, 9.56, a new career-high), average against with RISP (6th, .205; 31-for-151), slugging percentage against (8th, .367), road ERA (8th, 2.95), strikeouts (9th, 194) and ERA (10th, 3.30). He was named AL Pitcher of the Month for September, his 3rd career award and first since May 2010, after going 4-0 with 1.09 ERA (41.0IP, 5ER, 7BB, 51K) in six starts in the season’s final month, helping Cleveland advance to the postseason. Jimenez allowed three earned runs or fewer in each of his final 13 starts to end the season, posting a 1.82 ERA (84.0IP, 17ER, 27BB, 100K) in 12 starts after the All-Star break. His second half ERA was the 2nd-lowest in MLB (Kershaw, LAD, 1.59).

The National League’s starting pitcher in the 2010 All-Star Game, Jimenez finished 3rd in the NL Cy Young balloting that season after going 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA with four complete games. He has posted a 3.54 post-season ERA (28.0IP, 11ER) in five total starts for Colorado in 2007 and 2009. In 2009, Jimenez set a World Baseball Classic record, striking out 10 batters in his lone start (4.0 scoreless IP), March 10 vs. the Netherlands.

Originally signed by Colorado as an amateur free agent, April 25, 2001, he was acquired by Cleveland in exchange for four players, July 30, 2011. Jimenez will wear uniform #31.

To make room for Jimenez on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Liam Hendriks has been designated for assignment.

Comments (0)

Orioles reach agreement with free-agent pitcher Jimenez

Tags: , , ,

Orioles reach agreement with free-agent pitcher Jimenez

Posted on 17 February 2014 by WNST Staff

After spending the entire offseason looking for a veteran starting pitcher, the Orioles have finally found their man.

Multiple outlets are reporting that the Orioles have agreed in principle to a four-year deal with free-agent pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, who most recently pitched for the Cleveland Indians. According to MASN, the deal is believed to be in the neighborhood of $48 million, pending a physical.

The 30-year-old Jimenez went 13-9 with a 3.30 earned run average and 1.33 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) in 32 starts spanning 182 2/3 innings this past season and carries a career 82-75 mark with a 3.92 ERA in eight major league seasons spent with the Colorado Rockies and Cleveland. Because the Indians made Jimenez a qualifying offer at the beginning of the offseason, the Orioles will forfeit their first-round pick — the 17th overall selection — to bring the veteran right-hander into the fray.

The deal would go against the Orioles’ long-held practice of not giving an outside free-agent pitcher a four-year contract, but Jimenez would bring the veteran presence long considered a priority by executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette. Jimenez has shown plenty of durability in his career, making 31 or more starts in each of the last six seasons despite only reaching the 200-inning plateau twice in his career.

Jimenez possesses a four-seam fastball, a two-seamer, splitter, changeup, and slider, but his mechanics have often been a challenge in his big-league career as he’s averaged 4.0 walks per nine innings pitched. His high strikeout rate in addition to his walk totals are the biggest reasons why he’s struggled to pitch deep into games throughout his career.

The Dominican native rebounded nicely in 2013 after the worst season of his career a year earlier when he went 9-17 with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP. His best season came while pitching for Colorado in 2010 when he was 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA and finished third in National League Cy Young Award voting.

Comments (0)

Chen

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Chee’s POD’s & O’s Preview for July 24th, 2012

Posted on 24 July 2012 by Big Chee

In an attempt to preface my Baseball Plays of the Day, let me begin by saying I have placed bets on baseball games only a handful of times in my life. Most of the instances occured at the Hard Rock Cafe Sports Book last year in Punta Cana, which was an awesome time, by the way. I hung out with John Rocker, who, at the time, informed me of his belief that he could be an effective asset to the Orioles bullpen.  While I am sure it was the Budweiser talking, he came across like an okay guy to me.   As tempting as it was, I fought hard to stay away from the only relevant topic anyone wants to talk to him about; his racist/homophobic/sexist comments in regards to playing in NYC. After all, the guy, being on vacation like myself, was there to enjoy himself.

Anyway, here are my Inaugural MLB Plays of the Day for Tuesday:

Cleveland Indians/Detroit Tigers OVER  9  (BEST BET)

To say that the Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez has been a disappointment in 2012 would be an understatement. Acquired at last year’s trade deadline from from the Colorado Rockies, the 28-year-old is rarely clocked at over 95 mph on the radar gun these days. In addition to his loss in velocity, he leads the AL in walks and sports a hideous 5.48 walks per nine innings. Jimenez’s July has been more atrocious as he boasts an ugly 7.48 ERA, surrendering 18 earned runs in just four starts.

Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera will be licking their lips when the Tigers roll into town Tuesday and should have no problem teeing off on Jimenez.  However, their teammate and Detroit starter tonight Doug Fister has also been up and down this season. Fister has won his last three starts after losing his previous three starts. Cleveland, winners against Baltimore last night to avoid a sweep, is batting .311 (84-for-270) against fastballs from pitchers like Fister since last season. The lone bright spot in the lineup is Shin-Soo Choo, who homered in two of the last three games.

I expect Detroit to put up roughly 7-8 runs in this contest.   Cleveland should manage at least three.

New York Mets to win ML (-108)

The Mets have certainly been free-falling as of late.  Losers of their last 10 of 11, their starting pitching has compiled a 6.41 ERA during that span.  Not to mention the devastating news that pitchers Johan Santana and Dillon Gee have hit the DL. Their sole victory during those 11 games was last Thursday when R.A. Dickey got the best of the Nats’ Gio Gonzalez. Dickey will go for his 12th consecutive winning decision in the rematch tonight.

Gonzalez hasn’t looked anything like an All-Star over his last five starts. The southpaw surrendered six earned runs in 3 1/3 innings pitched during last week’s matchup against the Mets, ballooning his ERA to 5.75 in July. To make matters worse, Dickey is a perfect 6-0 at home and should make scoring runs very difficult for the Nationals offense.

Dickey certainly has not been lights out either, but expect him to get enough support led by David Wright and a red hot Daniel Murphy to even this three game series at 1-1.

ORIOLES vs RAYS PREVIEW: July 24th, 2012

Wei-Yin Chen takes the mound for the Orioles tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays as the O’s try to rebound after failing to sweep Cleveland last night. The last time the Rays faced the Orioles with Chen on the mound, Rays’ starter David Price overshadowed him with a complete game shutout. Tonight, the Rays are not as fortunate to match Price against Chen once again, as they send Jeremy Hellickson to the mound. The Rays have lost all of Hellickson’s last five starts and his road ERA stands at 4.08. Chen, on the other hand, has an ERA a full point lower at home.  Taking three of four in Cleveland and winning their last five of six overall has given the O’s some much needed swagger after a slow start post All Star Break. The travel from Cleveland to Baltimore will not fatigue them very much either, so jet lag will not be a problem.   All signs point to Baltimore starting this three game set successfully with a win, thus further distancing themselves from the bottom three in the AL East.

Comments (0)