Ubaldo Jimenez may have turned in his best performance as a member of the Baltimore Orioles last night in Toronto. He totally shut down a pretty potent lineup, all but suffocating them to death. Jimenez’s line: 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K.
This was the Jimenez that the Orioles thought they were getting back in 2014 when they signed him to a four-year deal. The funny thing wiht Jimenez is that it seems like it’s either feast or famine. He either exits in the second inning after having given up eight runs, or he pitches seven or eight shutout innings.
However one way or the other, on this night he was the toast of Baltimore. (Granted this was a road game, but work with me here, folks.) This is the type of game to which you point if the Orioles end up making a run of things this season. Perhaps they look back at this game and suggest that it started something. Needless to say, the Orioles have battled back to .500 and won two consecutive series’ – both on the road.
The Birds got a sac fly-RBI from Schoop in the fourth inning to take a 1-0 lead. Two innings later in the sixth, Joseph’s RBI-single gave them a 2-0 lead. And that’s all she wrote! The rest was all pitching, and all Jimenez. Obviously the O’s couldn’t have won without those two runs, but Jimenez almost single-handedly won the game for them last night.
The Orioles did have two injury concerns coming out of this game, one of which manager Buck Showalter is blaming on Rogers Centre. Welington Castillo sprained his knee slipping on the steps just prior to the game, and was a late scratch. Showalter didn’t hold back when asked about it after the game (quote courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports):
He slipped right there on those slick stairs there. He was going down to warm up Ubaldo. This place is (treacherous). … It’s like that in a lot of places. He sprained his knee and he’ll see Dr. (Michael) Jacobs tomorrow along with Crichton, whose right shoulder is bothering him. I’m sure we’ll have somebody there in case he’s not ready to go. But we think, the initial thought is that we might be OK. We’ll wait and see what happens tomorrow
For his part Castillo said he feels that he’ll be ready to go tomorrow night. Showalter’s view of the visiting facilities at Rogers Centre is probably pretty poor. However I suspect he threw in that part about the conditions being slick in a lot of places so as to avoid controversy. Toronto is a team that’ll use the weather as bulletin board material if the situation presents itself. (However with that said I wouldn’t recommend anyone in the league getting into a tit-for-tat with the Orioles regarding who’s ballpark is better.)
Stefan Crichton is also experiencing shoulder discomfort. He’s expected to undergo an MRI today in Baltimore. So I would expect the Birds to make at least one roster move before tonight’s game. Luckily for them, Jimenez’s great night came when they had at least one reliever in the bullpen who as unavailable.
The Orioles will now open a three-game set and a three-game homestand with Tampa at Camden Yards tonight. Chris Tillman gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Jacob Faria. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.