This wasn’t the way Ubaldo Jimenez or the Orioles wanted things to start this year.
After three starts with the Orioles, Jimenez is 0-3 with a 7.31 ERA. He has allowed 23 hits and 10 walks in 16 innings -- or two base runners per inning. On Sunday, he gave up five runs, 10 hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings in the Orioles' 11-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
“Tough one, really bad one. I couldn't be there for the team once again,” Jimenez said. “I've been missing right down the middle of the plate. I've been making too many mistakes right down the middle of the plate. That's something I have to work on.”
The Orioles signed Jimenez to a four-year, $50 million deal this February to help solidify a rotation that has struggled in recent years. This isn’t what they paid for -- not after Jimenez dominated the American League for the Cleveland Indians in the second half last year.
But maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise -- not this slow start anyway, based on Jimenez’s career. He has a 5.55 ERA in April, the worst of any month in his career.
“It's not something I want to have like that,” Jimenez said. “I'm always trying to find a way to get it going right away. But it seems like it's going to take a little bit longer.”
Perhaps the most salient point about Jimenez’s slow starts -- and maybe a silver lining for Orioles fans who are dismayed with his production so far -- is that Jimenez began last year 0-2 with a 11.25 ERA in his first three starts.
And they were against the same three opponents: the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Blue Jays.
Since he had a good year overall in 2013, the point can be made that the early disaster didn’t affect him much. Of course, you could also make the point that, unlike last year, Jimenez will see a whole lot more of the Red Sox, Yankees and Blue Jays in 2014.