The patience of Orioles fans with Ubaldo Jimenez seems to have finally run out after his Tuesday meltdown, in which he was handed leads of 5-0 and 6-2 and not only could he not hold them before getting blasted out of the game, he couldn’t finish more than four innings plus a few batters.
It’s starting to seem like O’s fans aren’t the only ones losing patience. In his pre-game remarks to Orioles reporters on Wednesday, manager Buck Showalter indicated that, while Jimenez’s next start is scheduled for Sunday, “We’ll see where we are when we get there.”
That’s obviously nothing definitive, but the fact that the door is cracked open even a little bit for Jimenez to possibly be shuffled out of the rotation is something noteworthy.
A Thursday off-day opened up the possibility that the Orioles could choose to skip Jimenez’s turn in the rotation in order to put off having to make a decision about him so soon. However, Showalter said that the Orioles weren’t likely to do that because it’s also important to them to give an extra day of rest for Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman.
If someone else WAS going to start instead of Jimenez on Sunday, who would it be? Alec Asher, the best performer of the Norfolk-Baltimore shuttle riders up to this point, seems to be the obvious choice, though if he’s needed for a few innings from the bullpen between now and Sunday, that could end up ruling him out. That leaves the O’s picking from the rest of the bunch.
The other two pitchers who have found success in small samples are Gabriel Ynoa and Logan Verrett. However, Ynoa was just optioned to the minors yesterday, so he can’t come back within 10 days unless there’s a disabled list move. As for Verrett, he’s on extended paternity leave and hasn’t pitched since May 16, which seems to rule him out for Sunday duty.
A lot can end up happening between now and Sunday. The Orioles could still push another start out of Jimenez in desperation for lack of anybody else available as a better choice. Or maybe they’re starting to think like a lot of O’s fans: Anyone who’s not Jimenez has to be a better choice.