When the Baltimore Orioles signed Ubaldo Jimenez to a huge four-year contract worth $50 million this offseason, it was expected he’d pitch more like an ace than a bottom-of-the-rotation starter, but through two starts, that’s not the case.
Jimenez has pitched to a 0-2 record with a 6.75 ERA in 10.2 innings pitched, but what’s more alarming is his 6.8 BB/9. I’ve seen little league pitchers who don’t walk nearly seven batters per nine innings. Over the course of his career, Jimenez has always walked a lot of batters, but his ratio right now is insanely high.
Jimenez has a lot of movement on his pitches, which allows him to be downright filthy at times, but that same movement can get him into trouble if hitters don’t chase. A lot of Jimenez’s early-season struggles has to do with him facing two of the most patient lineups in baseball.
Jimenez has pitched against the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, two teams that are exactly the type of team that Jimenez has trouble beating. Both lineups are very patient and are able to foul off a lot of tough pitches, a deadly combination for a pitcher that has a tendency to walk batters.
The Toronto Blue Jays’ lineup, on the other hand, is a free-swinging power hitting lineup — a lineup which, in theory, should give Jimenez a good chance to dominate.
In a limited sample size this season, it’s apparent that Boston and New York have lineups capable of getting on base with a lot more consistency than Toronto’s. The Jays have a powerful lineup no doubt, but an awful .284 OBP keeps them from being on the same level as Boston and New York.
Even though the Jays have hit more home runs than both the Red Sox and the Yankees, the OBP of Boston and New York have been what presented Jimenez with a challenge. Boston’s .329 OBP and New York’s .330 OBP show that neither of these teams rely on hitting the ball out of the park; they can work the count and draw walks.
On Sunday afternoon, if Jimenez relies on his stuff and goes right after the Blue Jays hitters, their own aggressiveness will be their downfall as the Baltimore faithful will finally see the guy that Dan Duquette signed for $50 million.