Ubaldo Jimenez has been steadily better of late than he was in the first half of the season. Last night he came within two outs of a quality start, but still looked decent in doing so. Jimenez’s line: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 11 K. Yes you read that correctly; 11 strikeouts.
However the Orioles’ bullpen couldn’t hold onto a late lead, with Brad Brach allowing Oakland to come back in the eighth inning on his watch. The Birds took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Adam Jones smacked his second homer in as many games. This one obviously was of the solo variety, but it put the Orioles on the right track. Two innings later Jones would ground into a double-play, which also yielded a run and gave the O’s a 2-0 lead.
But in the bottom of that inning Oakland fought back. Davis’ RBI-double cut the lead to 2-1. Later in the inning Olson’s two-run home run gave Oakland the lead at 3-2. But the Birds weren’t out of it – yet. Schoop’s two-RBI double in the fifth gave them the lead back at 4-3.
Oakland may be in full rebuild mode, but they’re scrappy none the less. An RBI-double in the last of the eighth tied the score back up at four, and Oakland would later take a 5-4 lead (which turned into a 5-4 win) on a sac fly-RBI. All of this off of the aforementioned Brach, who took the loss and the blown save.
These types of games will happen, but they really hit home when you’re a team like the Orioles who are trying to get back into the race. The Birds now sit two games out of the final wild card spot. However there are several teams ahead of them as well, which makes it tougher. Buck Showalter admitted afterwards that while it wasn’t Brach’s night, all games are the sum of the parts (quote courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports):
There’s a lot more to the game than that, but I know everyone’s focus is there. Brad has been great for us, but tonight just wasn’t his night. A couple balls elevated and command was a little off, but so was Mychal (Givens) a little bit.
The O’s will try to get back on track in the series this evening. Dylan Bundy will head to the mound for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Oakland’s Sean Manaea. Game time is set for just after 9 PM.
You aren’t going to see Ubaldo Jimenez pitch better than he did for the Baltimore Orioles last night. You just aren’t. This was the second consecutive start in which the Orioles’ beleaguered right hander put the Birds in a spot to win. The difference is that this time around he didn’t end up a hard-luck loser. Jimenez’s line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 6 K.
Few people would have thought that the Orioles would have gotten into a pitcher’s duel with Jimenez on the mound against Kansas City – and won. Admittedly, the game started somwhat inauspicious for the O’s. Jimenez allowed a base runner early, and Hosmer’s RBI-double gave Kansas City a 1-0 lead in the first. However Jimenez pitched out of it, and mimized the damage to just that one run.
Other than that, Jimenez was flawless. While it’s understandable that some fans wanted him DFA’d long ago, it’s also worth throwing in that last night wouldn’t have been possible without Jimenez. The Orioles still would have paid him for last night’s game, but he wouldn’t have been playing. And the effort the team got out of him last night wouldn’t have happened.
That 1-0 for Kansas City stood up until the last of the fifth when Jonathan Schoop‘s RBI-single tied the game up. And on we played. In fairness, Kansas City’s pitching was equally as good. This is an Orioles team that put up ten runs in Texas on Sunday. For the most part they were stymied last night.
With the game tied at one in the last of the ninth and Joseph on first, Ruben Tejada broke an 0-for-19 string with a base hit. It also sent the winnin run to second base in the form of Joseph. But could the Orioles close it out with the bottom of the order up?
You can’t look at it that way in that situation. You have to look at it from the perspective of all you need is a base hit. And luckily for the O’s, Craig Gentry came through. His RBI-single up the middle scored Joseph and walked the Orioles off winners, 2-1. The victory brought them within three games of .500, and started the home stand off right.
The Orioles’ bullpen was used a bit more than they would have liked on Sunday, and the effort that Jimenez gave the team last night really freshened up a few arms in the ‘pen. It’s just a shame that he couldn’t get the win, which instead went to closer Zach Britton. But them’s the breaks. The O’s were only in a spot to win the game because of Ubaldo Jimenez’s effort to begin with.
Ubaldo Jimenez gave the Baltimore Orioles a quality start yesterday afternoon in Tampa. Yet he ended up what they all a hard luck loser. That’s a situation in which Jimenez hasn’t found himself often, but it happened yesterday. In essence, Jimenez threw a couple of bad pitches, and lost the game. Jimenez’s line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 9 K.
The nine strikeouts is really impressive. And in fact, Jimenez was incredibly crisp out on the mound yesterday. And that wasn’t lost on manager Buck Showalter (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
Ubaldo did his part, too. That was impressive. Got off to a little bit of a rocky start. He was 3-2 on the first, it seemed like, four or five hitters, and all of a sudden really was able to use his pitches. Played good defense behind him, too.
The Orioles took the lead in the game in the fourth inning on a homer by Schoop. But that only lasted for two innings, as Longoria smacked a two-run shot in the sixth. And that came on a pitch that split the plate, and Longoria jumped on it. Souza would add a solo homer in the seventh, which was the last run Jimenez gave up.
Tampa would also add on an RBI-single by Morrison in the eighth, and they’d score again later in the inning when Souza grounded into a force out which yielded a run. But with the exception of the Schoop homer, Oriole bats remained silent on this day. And that’s sad because they wasted an incredible outing by the constantly beleaguered Ubaldo Jimenez.
All you have to do is look at his stat line and see nine strikeouts to know that Jimenez was dealing yesterday. And it’s really a shame that as well as he pitched, the bats couldn’t propel him to victory. Hopefully for his sake he has a better fate next time out.
After the very early game, the fact that the trade market on the likes of Zach Britton hasn’t developed as the Orioles expected. Translated, this means that teams feel the Orioles are asking too much. Buck Showalter has said on numerous occasions that they aren’t ever going to allow other teams to de-value their players.
I’ve said this before, but there’s a mentality out there amongst a lot of people which says just get whatever you can for [insert player name]. That’s an incredibly dangerous way of looking at trades, because if the Orioles made it known that they’d expect nothing more than a single-A prospect for Britton, do we think that the market would continue to be slow?
Am I suggesting that the Orioles continue to play hardball? Yes, I am. Their attitude should be if you want our player(s) you’re going to pay our price. In the mean time, the Birds have an off day today in Texas. For their sake, I hope they use it wisely!
Ubaldo Jimenez was unable to keep the Baltimore Orioles in last night’s game early on. However I will say that he probably pitched better than his stat line indicates. He threw strike one to 12 of the first 15 hitters. But the fact is that he wasn’t as crisp as he needed to be. Jimenez’s line: 5.1 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 5 K.
Jimenez surrendered a run almost right off the bat on Beltran’s RBI-single. However just a moment later Gurriel’s two-run homer made the score 3-0. And part of why I say that Jimenez wasn’t as bad as advertised was that one of the base hits that led to that homer was a softly hit single. When you’re barely putting the bat on the ball and still succeeding, that’s called getting lucky.
Houston would add an RBI-triple in the second, and Altuve would ground out into another run. And thus while the crowd still was filing in, the O’s trailed 2-0. But they did get a run back an inning later on a Schoop RBI-single, although Houston immediately got that run back on a McCann solo homer. Before all was said and done, Houston led 8-1.
But the Orioles made an incredibly valiant, albeit very late comeback attempt. Trumbo’s RBI-single in the eighth cut the lead to 8-2. Jones would follow with a two-RBI double, and Schoop a three-run homer. Before we knew it, the Birds only trailed 8-7.
But that’s as close as they got. And once again, it highlights the need for starting pitching. Granted Jimenez didn’t give up eight runs. However he set the tone. And that’s what starting pitching is all about.
And keep in mind that this game ended up a one-run game. In one of the RBI plays Houston turned in above, Rickard dove for a ball in the outfield. The ball got by him (under his glove), and went all the way to the wall. It was a valiant effort by Rickard, however an extra run scored.
All things being equal, the game would have been tied. And it’s little things like that which are valued immensely by a team like Houston. The Orioles don’t look at one run as being any sort of a big deal, because of their power – which we saw at the end of the game last night. But Houston treats every single run as a precious commodity.
Ubaldo Jimenez and the Baltimore Orioles were fine in the first inning yesterday. Jimenez allowed one base runner but faced the minimum of three hitters due to a double-play. However that was the pinacle of the day for both him and the Birds, as Chicago quickly took the upper hand. Jimenez’s line; 3.2 IP, 11 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 2 K.
Jimenez wasn’t fooling anyone for nary any of his start. However on the flip side, the Orioles couldn’t muster much of anything. When a Jones double is pretty much the lone offensive highlight for the day, you know you’re in trouble. It doesn’t matter if your starter gives up six runs, 100, or even just one – you still aren’t going to win.
Chicago put forth three doubles in the top of the second, the third of which was Happ’s two-RBI double. That gave them a 2-0 lead. Before the end of the inning Heyward and Zobrist would add RBI-singles, and the O’s trailed 4-0. Two innings later Bryant’s two-run homer did Jimenez in for the day, and broke the game wide open at 6-0.
Now if there’s a silver lining on this game, it’s that the Orioles’ bullpen really stepped up. Unfortunately that can’t and won’t always be the case, because if your starters are only lasting 3.2 innings or so, someone’s arm in the ‘pen might fall off. But Hart, Givens, and Britton were all incredibly solid yesterday afternoon. O’Day came in for the ninth and gave up a two-run homer to Rizzo, but other than that the bullpen was very good.
MASN’s Gary Thorne has mentioned this on the air a few times, however should the Orioles consider becoming a bullpen-oriented team? That’s not something we’ve seen for the most part at the big league level almost ever, however there are many in baseball who think that’s where the industry’s going.
The bullpen guys are recording outs, and that’s a fact. Look at this weekend for instance; Oriole starters weren’t fooling anyone at all. However once Showalter would go to the bullpen, the bleeding would stop. The damage was already done of course, but the bleeding would seemingly stop.
Relievers of course aren’t designed to pitch long games (although it’s certainly possible that some of these guys could be “stretched out” next spring). So the idea of course would be that you actually start someone like Givens, Castro, or Hart, and after threee innings or so bring in the likes of Jimenez, Tillman, or someone else. Needless to say, it’s an interesting idea. But do the Orioles not have nothing to lose by considering and trying it?
The O’s will now open a four-game series at home with Texas starting tonight. Chris Tillman will be on the mound for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Andrew Cashner. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.
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.
Ubaldo Jimenez struggled mightily last night, which set the tone for the Baltimore Orioles’ 15-5 loss in Tampa. Jimenez’s line: 2.1 IP, 2.1 IP, 7 H, 9 R, 4 BB, 1 K. Jimenez flat out didn’t have it, as he gave up four runs in the first and third innings, and one in the second. In a sense, the game was over before it got going.
However without going into too much detail about the game itself, there’s one thing I’ve noticed about a lot of these lopsided losses. At some point along the way, the Orioles have turned into nibblers on the mound. And this is nothing new; the Birds have had several nibblers over the years, including the likes of Ponson, Lopez, and others. It’s just been awhile.
In a way, it’s not overly surprising. These days it seems that regardless of what Oriole pitchers throw out there is getting hit. Many of those pitches are getting hit hard…and far. However not all of them. Opposing hitters seem to have a knack for placing balls just perfectly so as to avoid Oriole gloves. Ultimately, guys are getting on base and that’s costing the Orioles runs on defense.
Trying to nibble on the corners is probably natural when you’re going through a spell like which the O’s are going through. The idea being that if you don’t throw the ball right down broadway, odds are they can’t hit it out of the ballpark. That, or if it’s just touching the black enough to be in the zone, maybe the hitter will see it as outside and let it go for a called strike.
The problem is that other teams know this. They know that the Orioles are struggling on all facets, and even in some instances through no fault of their own. Keep in mind that they’re without Hardy, Flaherty, Davis, and Britton right now. When your depth suddenly finds itself in the starting lineup, you aren’t going to be the same team. But that aside, opponents know that Oriole pitchers are nibbling on the corners. And they’re either letting those pitches go for balls, or…
…they’re hitting them. Because guess what? Pitches on the fringes of the plate aren’t necessarily going for homers, however they can be tapped into play. All of those bloop singles that fall just in front of outfielders, or grounders that just get by an infielder’s mitt? Those were on pitches that nibbled on the corners.
So yes, in a sense Oriole pitchers are afraid to make a mistake. But that fear is eating the team alive. And it doesn’t just manifest itself in pitch selection. A hitter gets a base hit or a walk with two outs when the O’s were already mentally back in the dugout, and suddenly a wild pitch gets uncorked because the pitcher’s trying too hard not to make a mistake…out of fear. And that leads to a mistake, which sets an inning up nicely for an opponent.
The only cure for this is in essence to throw youself out there and throw strikes. The Orioles need to get back to the power pitching that we’ve seen over the past few seasons. Because nibbling on the corners and in essence pitching from behind before the guy even steps in the box isn’t working for anyone…except opponents.