clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ubaldo does Ubaldo things as Orioles blown out by Indians, 11-4

New, 39 comments

Ubaldo Jimenez didn't even finish the second inning as the Orioles lost on Saturday. The O's didn't help themselves much by committing four errors.

In the classic film The Princess Bride, the hero Westley, in the guise of the Dread Pirate Roberts, tells his childhood love Buttercup, who does not yet recognize him, "Life is pain. Anyone who says differently is selling something." He must have just finished watching an Ubaldo Jimenez start.

So, too, did the unfortunate Orioles fans who tuned in to Saturday afternoon's lopsided 11-4 loss against the Indians. Jimenez was every bad stereotype about his pitching rolled into one. Can't throw strikes? You know it. Turning every baserunner into Usain Bolt? Yes, that too.

It takes some hard work to manage to give up four stolen bases in the span of an inning and two-thirds, which was as far as Jimenez pitched into the game before Buck Showalter had seen enough and yanked him in favor of Vance Worley. Jimenez is surely up to that challenge.

The ultimate Ubaldo start

The hows and whys are almost not even worth discussing at this point. They are what they are because he is what he is. If for some reason a person was inclined to be generous towards Jimenez's pitching, they might note that three of the six runs Jimenez gave up were unearned - those being the result, directly and indirectly, of a Pedro Alvarez error at third base.

Alvarez in fact made two errors in the game. He should not be a third baseman. With a .194 batting average and a .644 OPS, it's not entirely clear what he should be, other than mostly on the bench.

In all, the Orioles committed four errors in the game, another sloppy effort. Only five of the Indians' eleven runs were earned. Of course, five runs still would have beaten the Orioles today.

There's no reason to be generous towards Jimenez because you have to be worse than just one Alvarez error to be yanked from a game before finishing the second inning. You have to be bad enough to walk three guys and give up five hits while recording only five outs.

It's now Memorial Day weekend and the highest-paid free agent pitcher the Orioles have ever signed is in the third year of his four year contract and he is sitting on a 6.36 ERA after this start. He is pitching as poorly as that ERA looks.

Every start, it seems, the Orioles have to plan for what to do if Jimenez has another meltdown. Today, the plan was to have Worley go as far as possible, and he did yeoman's work in coming in to the blowout to eat up as many innings as possible. That ended up being 4.1 innings, so he got the O's at least through the sixth.

What to do with Jimenez?

Even the normally-sunny Jim Hunter was openly speculating on the MASN telecast about what the Orioles might have to do with Jimenez. You can kind of imagine that another bullpen demotion, along the lines of what the O's did with him in 2014, could be in his future.

Whether Worley or whoever else proves to be a good option as a starting pitcher for the O's, they all have one virtue: They are not Jimenez. Until Jimenez gets his act together, the Orioles are basically destroying their chances to win once every five games. That's a lot of games to just give up on.

Sure enough, they were handed a gift opportunity today, with the Red Sox blowing a game late against the Blue Jays. Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel blew a save on his birthday, this after Boston took a ninth inning lead following different relievers blowing a Sox lead in the eighth.

So the Red Sox lost and the Orioles had a chance to pull back into a tie for the AL East lead. Except they never really had a chance, not as long as Jimenez was the scheduled starter. That's just how it is right now. They will remain one game back.

With such a deficit that they faced in the game, the Orioles scoring a few runs didn't matter too much for the sake of today's game. But perhaps it's a positive sign that eight of the nine starting position players had at least one hit - and even the hitless Joey Rickard walked twice.

Another encouraging thing for the offense was that Mark Trumbo had a three hit game. Trumbo has been slumping lately, batting just .174 over the past seven days before today. If he's heating up, maybe that can carry over to tomorrow.

As bad as today's game was, it was only one loss. The Orioles will take the field tomorrow with a chance to win the series. Chris Tillman, the O's best starting pitcher by ERA, will be starting the game, while the Indians will send out Mike Clevinger, who has only ever made two MLB starts. The finale is scheduled to get under way at 1:10.

Go do something fun with your night and don't think about this game any more.