Every one of Ubaldo Jimenez's starts have seemed like soap operas, as the big right-hander has struggled to throw strikes, keep his pitch counts down, and pitch deep into games. Jimenez was able to do all that Sunday in his best start of the season, a 4-2 decision over the Texas Rangers.
Jimenez pitched seven scoreless innings on two hits, with six strikeouts. He did walk five, but the walks weren't nearly as damaging as they could have been because he only allowed two hits.
He threw 107 pitches, which was much better than his last start in which he threw 105 pitches in just 4 23 innings. Sunday's effort was the kind of start Indians officials have been waiting all season to see from Jimenez, who is a key player on the team's roster.
Jimenez is the No. 2 starter in the rotation and it's difficult to see the Indians remaining in contention this season without a big year from Jimenez. So his performance Sunday was a welcome one, for Jimenez himself and for his bosses.
Pitching coach Scott Radinsky has been working with Jimenez on some mechanic adjustments to his delivery. Sunday was the first time some progress appeared to be made from that tinkering. The results, certainly, were dramatic.
"The biggest thing was that I had good command of all my pitches," Jimenez said. "I could throw any of my pitches for strikes whenever I needed to." That command allowed Jimenez to pitch out of the few jams he was in.
Even more impressive, Jimenez's outing came against the powerful Texas Rangers, who arguably have the best hitting team in the American League, which should give Jimenez even more confidence going forward.
NOTES, QUOTESCloser Perez continues to save day
--RHP Chris Perez picked up his big-league-leading 11th save Sunday. Since blowing a save on opening day, Perez is 11-for-11 in save situations. "I'm in a good groove," he said. "I'm able to throw strikes where I want to and when I want to."
--RHP Ubaldo Jimenez, in his best outing of the season by far, pitched seven scoreless innings on two hits to get the win in the Indians' 4-2 victory over Texas Sunday. "It's good to see him do that. He dominated right-handed hitters," said manager Manny Acta. "It goes to show you don't have to throw 99 miles per hour to win, but you do have to throw strikes."
--LHP Zach McAllister will be brought up from Class AAA to pitch one of the games of Monday's day-night doubleheader against the White Sox. In six starts at Columbus, McAllister is 3-1 with a 2.83 ERA. In four starts for the Indians last season, McAllister was 0-1 with 6.11 ERA. He was 12-3 with a 3.32 ERA in 25 starts last year at Columbus.
--RHP Joe Smith gave up a three-run home run in the 11th inning to Texas' Adrian Beltre that was the difference in the Indians 5-2 loss to Texas Saturday night. It's the first home run allowed by Smith at Progressive Field since Aug. 6, 2010. It's also the first home run Smith has ever allowed in extra innings.
--DH Travis Hafner's next home run will be the 192nd of his career. That would tie Hafner with Al Rosen for eighth place on the Indians' all-time list.
BY THE NUMBERS: 52 -- Number of years it had been since an Indians pitcher had allowed a pinch-hit home run in extra innings in Cleveland, which RHP Joe Smith did to Texas' Adrian Beltre on Saturday. It was the first such homer allowed by the Indians since June 12, 1961.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's my decision, and I'm not going to second guess myself. Some work, some don't. I'll sleep fine." -- Manager Manny Acta, on his decision to intentionally walk Mitch Moreland, and pitch to Adrian Beltre, who hit a pinch-hit, three-run homer in the 11th inning to beat the Indians 5-2 on Saturday.
ROSTER REPORTMEDICAL WATCH:
--LHP Rafael Perez (strained left lat muscle) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 26.
--OF Grady Sizemore (back surgery in March 2012) went on the 60-day disabled list April 4. He was cleared to begin baseball activities in late April, and he might be able to return as soon as he is eligible.
--RHP Carlos Carrasco (Tommy John surgery in September 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 26. He might miss the entire season.