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Jimenez, Indians edge past Orioles, 4-3

Tribe starter gives team another quality start as team ties up series

Jimenez, Indians edge past Orioles, 4-3
September 3, 2013
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CLEVELAND—When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

After news broke Tuesday that Tribe ace Justin Masterson (14-10, 3.52 ERA) will miss at least one start (possibly more) to a left oblique strain, the team needed someone to step up big.

Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (10-9, 3.79 ERA) did just that. The 28-year-old looked brilliant giving his team another quality start, as the Indians edged Baltimore, 4-3.

“This has now been the third start in a row where it looks like he’s got a second wind,” Tribe manager Terry Francona said. “He was good and aggressive, worked quick and pitched in with his fastball.”

Allowing just four hits in six scoreless innings of work, Jimenez picks up his 10th win, the most in his Cleveland career. He also has now gone at least six innings in three straight starts and in five of his last seven, holding a 1.35 ERA in 11 of his quality starts.

“The last three games I’ve been able to go out there and show that I’m strong,” Jimenez said. Even when I get deep in the game I get a little bit stronger.”

It wasn't just the pitching that came through, the Tribe offense did as well.

“We did a lot of good things tonight,” Francona said. “We played a nice crisp game and kept the line moving. Everybody contributed and that’s how we have to play.”

Offensively, the Indians struck first in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly by Asdrubal Cabrera to take the one run lead against Baltimore starter Chris Tillman (15-5, 3.71 ERA). They weren't done, as the Tribe scored three runs in the sixth off the Orioles right-hander, capped off on a two-run double by Yan Gomes to put them up 4-0.

Tillman went 5 1/3 innings giving up the four earned runs on all five of Cleveland's hits. As a team, the Indians improve to 59-17 when scoring four runs or more in a game.

“We haven’t been able to get that big hit with guys on,” Gomes said. “It was good to see Asdrubal do it a couple times and me getting get a couple guys in. Hopefully it keeps going.”

Cody Allen and Joe Smith each provided a scoreless inning apiece after Jimenez, before Francona turned to his closer Chris Perez up 4-0 in the ninth.

Found guilty of drug charges earlier in the day, Perez allowed two straight hits by Nick Markakis and J.J. Hardy to open up the inning before left fielder Nate McLouth charged him a second time, this time guilty of a three-run homer to cut the Tribe lead to one.

The closer would settle in, recording two straight strikeouts before getting potential A.L. MVP Chris Davis to groundout to end the ballgame.

“We all need to step up," Jimenez said. If we want to make it to the playoffs we all need to step up.”

This is the same Jimenez that boasted a major league worst 17 losses in 2012, ending the season with a 5.40 ERA in 31 starts. Lowering his ERA to a season-best 3.79, he has virtually become a totally different pitcher compared to one year ago.

“I think you always have to give the player credit, especially a veteran guy that’s willing to make changes and listen,” Francona said. I think Mickey [Callaway] deserves a ton of credit for building that relationship. Ubaldo trusts Mickey a lot as he should, it’s exciting when you see a guy this time of year seem to have another gear.”

Holding an $8 million mutual option on the right-hander for 2014, Jimenez could choose to decline the option at elect free agency at season’s end.

“It was all about being 100 percent physically and with my mechanics,” Jimenez said. I’ve been working hard the last two years to try and get back to who I was before, and I’ve been getting there.”

He gave credit to first year pitching coach Callaway.

“He’s been great, he’s the main reason why I’ve been able to get where I’m at now,” Jimenez said. He’s been there every single day since he’s got the job.”

Despite the much needed win, Cleveland (73-65) remain 3.5 games in back of the Tampa Bay Rays for the final A.L. wild card spot. They do however gain a game on the first place Detroit Tigers, as they now sit 7.5 games out of first place.

A crowd of only 9,962 watched it, the lowest attendance for a game in September or October since Oct. 1, 1992.

“Of course we notice it,” Jimenez said. “It’s definitely not the same when you have a big crowd that gets you going a little more. There’s nothing we can do, we’re in the playoff chase, we have to go out there and compete in front of whoever is there for us.”

No matter the attendance, the Tribe will send right-hander Zach McAllister (7-7, 3.51 ERA) on the mound in the series finale Wednesday against Orioles lefty Zach Britton (2-3, 4.76 ERA). McAllister is 3-3 with a 4.40 ERA in eight starts since returning from the disabled list.

Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at jberdysz27@gmail.com.

User Comments

Lester Hudson
September 4, 2013 - 10:23 PM EDT
Norm and his comments are legit one of the best things about this site. His sense of humor and just pure negativity never ceases to bring a smile to my face. Love Norm.
Norm
September 4, 2013 - 9:02 PM EDT
Think you have the market right Tony! Foolish not to make qualifying offer IMO. Doubt he would accept but not upset if he does for one year. Makes a trade that looks decent now that much better potentially. I don't even have a problem with extending a qualifying offer to Kazmir if that is the case as well. Less LT risk even though payroll with the "mistake on the lake" could be too high. Not much doubt that there will be no fans in seats regardless of how well the Tribe does.
shy
September 4, 2013 - 3:07 PM EDT
I think it would be unwise for Cleveland to give Ubaldo a qualifying offer if he's looking multi-year at 10+mil per. The Indians have 2 large multi year contracts already w nice players who are not worth it- Bourn and Swisher. If you're a big payroll big market team with money to throw at complementary players for a team that is already solid that's one thing, but the Indians are better off going w the young guys- Masterson, Salazar, Kluber, McCallister plus Kazmir- they have to have a left-handed starter and I trust Kazmir to repeat /improve this year's performance more than I would trust Ubaldo. I also think Josh Tomlin could come back and have a nice year. If you recall before his elbow starting giving out he had the lowest inning 1thru5 ERA in the AL in April, May, June- he's a tough little guy and the team plays well behind him. I am happy for Ubaldo, maybe he comes out West to the Giants and I can go out there and razz him!
Tony
September 4, 2013 - 2:08 PM EDT
Jimenez is easily going to get three years this offseason from someone. If the market dictates it he could even get four years. He will also get at least $10 million per season, but more likely around $11-12M....and again, if the market dictates it he could get $14-15M per. Remember, teams overspend on FA pitching. Look at the deals for Guthrie, Jackson and Sanchez last season. All comparable to Ubaldo. Guthrie got 3/25, Jackson 4/52, and Sanchez 5/80. Guthrie's deal would be Ubaldo's floor especially if the Indians give him a qualifying offer and poison his market. Sanchez's deal is his ceiling and the extreme, though with the pitching market you never know and he could approach that if teams get in bidding and are desperate. The Jackson deal is about where I expect him to fall. 3-4 years and about $11-12M per. I'm not sure I want to blow 3/36 or 4/48 on Jimenez knowing that Masterson is far more important to resign and I'd rather through that money (plus more) at him.
Rick
September 4, 2013 - 1:50 PM EDT
I don't know Tony. I think I've seen enough to consider 10 million. It would have been unthinkable six months ago, but I believe it's possible Ubaldo may be back - my guesstiment is on a two year @ 23 mil.

And I think its prudent.

A risk, yeah, but look at what they threw down the rat hole with Meyers - and that was more about the cost of business than a stupid move.

Ubaldo is a different animal. I don't think he wants to hit the market. Remember, if not with the Tribe - a small market club NOT EXPECTED TO COMPETE - if he wasn't signed with us - he would have struggled to get a minor league deal.

Plus, even if he got a minor league deal - no way anyone devotes the time and effort we have. And we only did it because he cost so much.

He doesn't have much shelf life outside of Cleveland. He bad mouthed the Rockies when there and did his melt down after coming here. In every way the guy has been an over paid prima dona.

He was a phenom fluke - a one year wonder - who has now matured into an effective #3 (good day) or steady #4. He still can't pitch deep enough to get much excited about anything.

And make no mistake, HE IS A RISK. He no longer has the 97+ fastball AND he CAN LOSE HIS RELEASE POINT AND COMMAND AT ANY TIME.

Worse, even though he's a veteran, any little thing - an error, a bad ump - and he pouts like a 12 year old.

Still, even with all that, I'd take two more years of this kind of effectiveness - 15 plus wins even if he rarely pitches past five innings.

The truth is that Meyers (and Lowe before him) is a cautionary tale; Pitching comes at that kind of a premium. That means they just might consider the risk with Ubaldo.

Now that might be a moot point if Blake Wood has a blistering Sept.

In any event, with or without Ubaldo, the rise of McCally & Klubski and now Salazar makes the Tribes prospects on the mound as exciting as it has been in many many moons.
Walter
September 4, 2013 - 1:02 PM EDT
Cleveland was not only playoff chasing team that had poor attendance showing last night.

St. Louis at Cincinnati 20,200
sea at kc 13670

Still that is a embarrassing showing. I guess Cleveland no longer major league city regarding sports.

From a former Clevelander.
Matthew
September 4, 2013 - 10:22 AM EDT
Who is Vasquez?
Tony
September 4, 2013 - 10:09 AM EDT
Ubaldo has been very good this year. His numbers actually are not too far off from last year as his walk-rate has stayed the same and he still allows a good amount of baserunners, but the difference being he's getting the outs with guys on base where he wasn't last year and he is getting more swing and miss. Credit him and Callaway for the work he's done this year. I still wouldn't bring him back on a long term deal that pays him $10M+ a year, but he's no doubt been important to their run this season.

As for the attendance.....there are no excuses for THAT.
Norm
September 4, 2013 - 9:46 AM EDT
Wonderful Cleveland baseball fans!!! Anyone not understand why players do not want to come to Cleveland?

Wonder when some IBI people will notice that Vasquez has been the best and most consistent Indians starter for some time instead of their constant badmouthing. You should be commended Jim but I do not expect that to happen. Anyway, I appreciate the article and think it took some balls to write about Jimenez and attendance considering the IBI position on both.

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