As David LaRose recently reported, Ubaldo Jimenez has been suspended for hitting Troy Tulowitkzi with a pitch. While it’s possible Jimenez may have been intentionally aiming for Tulo, was the suspension warranted?
Jimenez was a once dominant pitcher, but since the beginning of the 2011 season he’s been a shadow of his former self. Last season he posted an uncharacteristically poor 4.68 ERA, and he’s shown no signs of a break out this spring. He’s got a 7.43 ERA, which is no fluke as he’s walked and struck out 15 batters. Clearly, Jimenez has no idea where the ball is going, which leads one to wonder if he really did try and hit Tulo.
Jimenez fired back, arguing that he didn’t intend to hit Tulo:
“Hit by pitches happen every day in the game,” Jimenez said on Monday.”It’s not a surprise that somebody gets hit, especially a guy like him. You have to try to go inside on him.”
Jimenez is right that pitchers need to be able to throw on the inner half to Tulo. He’s one of the best players in the game, and you simply can’t let him get comfortable. When asked if he planned on apologizing, Jimenez responded:
““No, why?” Jimenez said. “He was calling me [names]. I said already that I didn’t mean to hit him. It was a pitch that got away. I had five walks in the game. I was everywhere.””
This, more than anything else, is why I believe that Jimenez did not mean to intentionally hit Tulo. He walked 5 guys, and clearly had no idea where the ball was going. It’s convenient to argue that Jimenez intended to hit Tulo, but the fact of the matter is when you’re walking five guys in a game you clearly don’t have any control.
Let’s face it, if Jimenez had intended to hit Troy Tulowitzki he probably would have hit the outside part of the plate. Unless Ubaldo Jimenez is a devious mastermind who tried to fool everybody by missing his location the entire game, only to summon up all his control to hit Tulowitzki for revenge on some comments made half a year ago, then it’s pretty clear that Jimenez didn’t intend to hit him. Quite frankly, it’s a needless suspension to a player who simply had no control over his pitches.