It may be fairly said that none of us will ever be truly prepared to watch an Ubaldo Jimenez start. Those who have remained awake late on Tuesday have about 43 hours to do their best to prepare, however, because the injury to Chris Tillman means that Jimenez draws the assignment on Thursday. The Orioles announced the move to media following the Tuesday win.
We’re all going to need every one of those hours to steel ourselves for having a game where Jimenez will square off against Max Scherzer, Thursday’s starter in Washington.
Jimenez has appeared in 22 games, 18 starts, and has walked a whopping 59 batters in 94.2 innings. That’s just crazy. Also crazy is his .372 BABIP, which a person who had not been watching Jimenez’s starts may be tempted to claim is the result of bad luck. There has been no bad luck. There has only been bad. There is nothing fluky or accidental about his 6.94 ERA.
Even writing those numbers feels cruel to do to Jimenez. He seems like such a great teammate and an incredibly nice human being. He is exactly the kind of person you would love to see succeed in an Orioles uniform.
That just hasn’t happened yet, deep into this third year of his four year contract. They were reportedly contemplating trading him for Melvin Upton, for crying out loud. That is a low point.
The optimist might say that there’s nowhere for Jimenez’s ERA to go but down. This is not necessarily true, as Brian Matusz revealed to us in 2011. A high ERA can always go higher. But a good Jimenez outing is something to hope for, along with the wild notion that maybe Jimenez has sorted some things out in his bullpen exile.
The Orioles can only hope for the best. They’re going to need it, because at this point in the season, they can’t afford to punt any games. They might need it more if Wade Miley drops another stinker on Wednesday. Back-to-back losses would be even worse. The AL East teams can’t be counted on to lose a bunch of games in a row any time soon, and neither can any of the teams charging up for a wild card spot.