Most fans of course are going to remember Ubaldo Jimenez for coming into last year’s AL Wild Card game and giving up the winning home run, sending the Baltimore Orioles home for the winter. However they aren’t going to remember the month of September, in which Jimenez was strong down the stretch for the Orioles. By far, he was their best pitcher and he was key in the Orioles even being in the playoffs.
Jimenez has seemingly continued that trend into spring training this year, most recently with yesterday afternoon’s game in Port Charlotte against Tampa. Jimenez’s line: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K. Jimenez struggled a bit with his pitch count in the first inning, but came out unscathed. You might also notice that he was stretched to three innings as opposed to the two that presumed starters had been going into the games.
Schafer’s seventh inning RBI-double provided the lone run of the game, as the O’s blanked Tampa 1-0. This was a very well-pitched game on both sides, but it was Oriole pitching that was just that much better. Granted it’s tough to say that given the fact that there’s no rhyme or reason to these games. And furthermore, everything is all but scripted in terms of who’s coming in and when. But the fact is that Oriole pitching outdid their Tampa counterparts yesterday.
Jimenez is a guy that could really benefit from the longer Grapefruit League season this year due to the WBC. The more games in which he appears before the bullets fly for real, the better. Again, most people are going to remember his faults overall as an Oriole, but he’s also come up big in some big spots for the Birds. When he’s been off, he’s really been off. But he’s also been on at various points when he’s needed to be on.
The O’s will return to Ed Smith Stadium this afternoon to take on the Philadelphia Phillies. Mike Wright will get the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Philadelphia’s Nick Pivetta. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.