Tribe turns to Ubaldo for rubber match with Rangers

Jimenez looks to rebound from his rough start in Chicago

Jimenez looks to rebound from his rough start in ChicagoIf 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

  • akzipper

    Not sure why, but Ubaldo pitched very well today. Giving up only 2? hits to one of the best offensive teams in the majors. Wish he could pitch like this all the time…

  • LBCavsfan

    I know he pitched extremely well but prior to today he had two wins and two losses. I dunno why everyone was so down on Ubaldo. Aside from one game he’s pretty much given his team a chance to win and that’s all you can ask for. I don’t mind how high his era is or low his k’s as long as the result is a win.

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    I was at this game; Ubaldo nibbled the strike zone all day and it worked for him against the Rangers for some reason I can’t comprehend.  I think they expected him to throw strikes and he was able to spot his pitches so far inside or outside that they were very difficult to hit.

  • bridgecrosser

    His ERA went from 5.00+ to 4.04 with 7 shutout innings today.  He outclassed a filthy Rangers lineup.  Must give props when they are due.  Great win on Sunday for the boys.

  • Hypno_Toad

    On another note what’s wrong with Santana? He seems to get so aggressive at times and swing early at breaking balls. Like today when Yu had him at 3-2 he just broke off a curve and Santana swung right over it.

  • akzipper

    I noticed that too…not that I think it’s related, but Santana and Hafner both went into a mini slump when their spots in the lineup were swapped. I believe for most of April Santana was 4th, and Hafner 5th. Not sure why they were flipped??

  • mgbode

    series win against one of the best teams in MLB.  1st place. 

    enjoying the year so far.

  • Hypno_Toad

    I thought Acta just flipped them for today. I was there on Saturday night and when Santana didn’t score the man from 3rd with 1 out at the 2-2 tie in the 8th Hafner batted right after and got out.

  • 216in614

    The key to his success??? Me dropping him from my fantasy team! 

  • cmm13

    Here’s why…since coming to the Indians he is:

    7-6, 4.72 ERA, 101 IP in 17 Games, 1.505 WHIP

    Not the line you give you your two best pitching prospects for.

  • Steve

     Separate the switch hitters, since Cabrera is batting 3rd instead of Choo now

  • porckchopexpress

    A gorgeous day and our 1st place team takes two of three from the best team in baseball, the biggest pitching x factor finally puts a decent game together, and your observation from the game is how he got lucky to get a win?  You must be a joy to sit in the stands with.  Like getting to go to a live taping of the Muppet show but having to sit with Waldorf and Statler in the balcony. 
    I bet if you woke up hung to your ankles and with $100 bills blanketing your floor you’d complain about the papercuts you got dragging that thing around.

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    Hmm…someone didn’t take their medication.