Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez has a $50 million contract, a 2-6 record and the knowledge that his recent starts just won't cut it.
And the 9-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians, his former team, on Saturday at Camden Yards was the most frustrating of them all.
“They found the holes,” Jimenez said in Spanish on Sunday. “A ground ball up the middle, a bloop to left field, an infield hit. They hit me five times, and of those, the only hard one was the fifth, Yan Gomes’ line drive.”
A walk and Gomes' hit put two runners on with nobody out in the fifth inning Saturday. Then, Jimenez surrendered an infield hit, another walk and a bloop single, ending his afternoon.
“I wish they would have hit the ball harder, so they would have been out,” Jimenez said. “Yesterday wasn’t my day, and things didn’t go well for me.”
Jimenez, whose four-year deal in February set a club record for a free-agent pitcher, has numbers that say he isn’t performing well despite boasting a 0.46 ERA in his first three May starts. His last two outings, in which Jimenez has a 10.00 ERA, bother him -- not because of the statistics, but because of how easily they could have been avoided.
On May 18, when Jimenez surrendered five runs in as many innings to the Kansas City Royals, he says he pitched well except for one offering -- a fastball that Alex Gordon turned on for a three-run home run. Jimenez admitted to struggling with his location in Saturday’s four-inning outing, his shortest of the season, but said he generally made good pitches.
“Things haven’t gone well in the last two games,” Jimenez said. “In Kansas City, it was just one pitch that ruined the game. … Yesterday, what didn’t help me was the walks.”
But Jimenez is quick to point to his track record of making in-season improvements, highlighted by a 1.82 ERA after last year’s All-Star break that followed a 4.56 ERA in the first half. By the end of this season, he hopes similar adjustments will validate his hefty price tag.
“If you don’t learn to look ahead, it can consume you,” he said. “With time, I get better and better. … Things change. A season is plenty long. I haven’t had many good games, but things change.”