If there’s one Indians storyline that dominates this early season, it is the lackluster performance of one Ubaldo Jimenez. If you’re ever on twitter during a Jimenez start, it’s one of the more entertaining twitter experiences one can have with the 2012 Tribe.
Notice I didn’t say enjoyable. Nothing is fun about an ERA over five and more walks (20) than strike outs (14). Coupled with the fact he’s only made it through seven innings once in five starts, it’s safe to say he’s a concern.
Questions surround Ubaldo. Will he ever regain his 2010 form? Is it his mechanics? Is it mental? Does Ubaldo mean ‘bust’ in Spanish (hardy har!)? How is it that he could pitch in Coors Field but not on the corner of Carnegie and Ontario?
I’ve joked on twitter that some of Ubaldo’s starts have been ok, since he battle through six innings and only gave up four runs. Not ace material by any means, but that’s Dave Burba-esque. There’s something to be said about giving your team a chance to win when you don’t have your best stuff.
Problem is, Ubaldo rarely seems to have his “best stuff” and the expectations on Jimenez are a bit higher than “Dave Burba”. As I mentioned in my piece yesterday, the Tribe has a small margin for error and they can’t afford to swing-and-miss on their Big Moves.
We know they can’t afford to go out and sign a guy like Prince Fielder. And no one really expects them to. The Tribe often tries to improve around the edges, with players like Derek Lowe and Johnny Damon; guys who can plug a hole for a season or two, but aren’t longterm answers. In Jimenez, they acquired an All-Star Game starter who is still in his prime. He can do a lot for this team if he can regain at least some of his previous form.
On Sunday, Jimenez will look to bounce back from his worst start of the season, an outing where he didn’t make it out of the 5th inning. He’s facing loaded Rangers lineup and Texas counterpart is Japanese RHP Yu Darvish, one of the surprise stories from this young season. The 6-foot-5 Darvish is 4-0 in his five starts this season and is sporting a sparkling ERA of 2.18, with 33Ks compared to just 17 walks. The Tribe will have their work cut out for them.
The Indians, just 5-8 at Progressive Field, will look to win their second straight series at home (the first being last weekend versus the Angels).
First pitch is 1:05