Tuesday was a trying night for the Baltimore Orioles, just as the first couple of starts had been trying for Ubaldo Jimenez. However last night we saw what bouncing back looks like on all accounts, as Jimenez pitched a gem that was won by the Orioles. Jimenez’s line: 7.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 3 K.
Jimenez went deeper than any other Orioles’ starter into a game thus far in 2017. Heck, he even registered a base hit late in the game, the 34th of his career! When you’re an American League pitcher and you’ve retired almost everyone who’s come up to face you AND you get a base hit (in an interleague game), you know things are running smoothly. Buck Showalter mentioned after the game that he felt Jimenez had all of his pitches working for him and hitting their spots (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
He filled up the bottom of the zone tonight. Had enough secondary pitches working for him. I thought Welington was good with him. With a lot of catchers you can be good when you have those things at your disposal. I thought his tempo, a lot of ground balls, a lot of pretty good plays made behind him because guys were engaged in the game.
We’ve seen Jimenez be this good in the past at times, and there’s no doubt he’s tough to beat when that happens. Ironically however, the Orioles scored more runs (three) in a loss on Tuesday than they did in a win last night. However the fact is that they would have only needed one run at the end of the day.
Schoop smacked an RBI-single in the second inning, however the Orioles also left the bases loaded. But keep in mind that this is the National League, where small ball rules supreme. One run is a victory, no matter how small.
Machado added a sac fly-RBI in the fifth to close out the scoring. Again, no one run is too small not to put across in a small ball situation. In a way that’s somewhat endearing – because “it’s supposed to be the small things in life,” right?! But to a power-hitting team like the Orioles, that’s a tough and frustrating game to play.
Ironically, I prefer the National League game only for the fact that the pitchers hit. I’ve always said that pitchers should be held as much in accountability for offensive output as anyone else. I’m not naive however; I recognize that no pitcher is going to be feared per se at the plate. So then it introduces more strategy in terms of moving guys over, double-switches, etc. It also makes the use of the bullpen more strategic.
And Jimenez illustrated perfectly what I’m saying last night, as he recorded the aforementioned base hit. Nobody was on and at the end of the day the inning ended in a double-play, however Jimenez is on the scorecard as having reached on a base hit. I’m in favor of MLB streamlining the rules between the leagues, for the record. However my version of that would be the elmination of the DH in the American League.
The series concludes this evening at the Great American Ball Park, after which the Orioles will mercifully head home. Wade Miley will be on the mound for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by former Oriole Scott Feldman. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.