Cleveland Indians Need To Save Ubaldo Jimenez For Wild Card Game

By John Raffel
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The crazy MLB Wild Card race in the AL will have the Cleveland Indians on edge when it comes to determining how to use the talented Ubaldo Jimenez.

He is tentatively scheduled to pitch Sunday’s game against Scott Diamond of the Minnesota Twins, who has been struggling with a 6-12 record and 5.54 ERA. That’s a matchup made in heaven for the Indians, considering Jimenez has been very effective this season at 12-9 with a 3.38 ERA.

Jimenez has been Mr. September for the Indians. He has had a 1.04 ERA this month, and 1.86 ERA in the second half of the season. If the Indians had their preference, however, Jimenez should instead be pitching in Wednesday’s Wild Card game for the right to advance to the AL Division Series. It’s obviously a game where a hot pitcher like him could give the Indians a major boost.

If Cleveland enters Sunday’s final game at Minnesota having to win it to get a Wild Card berth, Jimenez is set to pitch in that one. If Cleveland enters Sunday’s game having clinched a spot, then the plans by manager Terry Francona should be to save Jimenez for Wednesday’s Wild Card game.

The Indians have to feel good about their odds whenever Jimenez is on the mound, but the best-case scenario is for an Indians win Saturday and a Texas Rangers loss, which would allow them to start Jimenez on Wednesday. Jimenez likes that possibility of getting the chance to throw on Wednesday, although he realizes the Indians need to make it that far first.

It doesn’t matter if the contest is home or away, because Jimenez will be at the top of his game regardless of the stadium.

John Raffel is a writer for RantSports.comFollow him on Twitter  @JohnCarlRaffel, Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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