Yet again, I can’t help but share how amazing Ubaldo Jimenez has been for the Indians over a nearly five-month span.
First, in early June, I wrote about some of his best starts in a Cleveland uniform. Then, again in a stats headline, I wrote about his incredible continued improvement here in early September. Man, did Jimenez remain hot again last night against the Houston Astros.
And, consider: While the Houston Astros are now 51-102 and MLB’s worst team in nearly 60 years against .500+ squads (tweet), their offense isn’t that bad. Entering Thursday, Houston’s 3.92 runs per game ranked fourth-worst and .685 OPS ranked second-worst in the American League. This season, it’s been their pitching that has been their biggest downfall en route to the league’s worst record.
So Ubaldo Jimenez again deserves a ton of credit. With his latest fine outing he now has six consecutive quality starts, a new Indians personal record. Again, here’s a look at the former Colorado Rockies’ career stats in two splits with Cleveland:
First 46 starts with Indians — 13-23, 5.63 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 4.6 BB/9, 59.1% strikes, .269 AVG
Last 26 starts since 4/29/13 — 12-7, 2.65 ERA, 10.0 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, 62.0% strikes, .240 AVG
There is no doubt about it: From one of MLB’s worst regular starters from 2011-onward, he is now emerging as the owner of the AL’s second-best ERA over a near five-month span in a baseball season. The strikeouts are among the league’s best too, and thanks to decreasing walks and hits, he’s not letting up many mistakes either. He’s not the over-poweringly dominant starter he once was in the National League, but boy, Jimenez is very close to ace-quality.
As many have shared before, he’s lined up to be Cleveland’s fifth-to-last starter of the regular season. That would line him up perfectly for the team’s first post-season game, whether it be a one-game wild card playoff or a one-game tiebreaker situation. At this point in time, based on how he has pitched, it would seem that’s what the team and front office would actually prefer. How could have one ever guessed that?
[Related: Royals 7 Indians 2: Defense does Tribe in]