Resurgent Ubaldo Jimenez continued his strong performance of late with another quality start and victory in Tuesday night’s Indians win. He’s been an entirely new pitcher over the last four months, as the stats poignantly describe.
First 46 starts with Indians — 13-23, 5.63 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 4.6 BB/9, 59.1% strikes, .269 AVG
Last 23 starts since 4/29/13 — 10-7, 2.97 ERA, 9.1 K/9, 4.4 BB/9, 61.4% strikes, .237 AVG
He has 10 quality starts and five shutout quality starts. As one might point out though, Jimenez has only pitched 130.1 innings during this span, a mark that ranks only 63rd in baseball despite his consistent health and the fact he pitched directly on each of these end days. Among these 63 pitchers however, his ERA ranks 12th and his average against ranks 19th, spectacular turnarounds from his previous marks over the past two seasons.
In his best career season, back in 2010, the now-29-year-old went 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA in 33 starts for the Colorado Rockies. He pitched 221.2 innings, struck out 214 batters, allowed an opponent OPS of .610 and finished third in National League Cy Young voting. But it’s notable to point out he had a 4.08 ERA and ever-increasing walk rates from June onward that year after a sensational start to the season.
Back in early June, when Jimenez’s hot pitching first started, I shared some research of the best starts of his Indians career. Overall, his improved play has been a gigantic reason why the Cleveland pitching staff is on the verge of historic records in 2013, as I shared in early August.
Now, the intriguing debate will be over his future in a Cleveland uniform. He has a $8 mutual option for 2014, not strictly a team option as some had previously reported. With the way he’s been pitching, like a risky but low-end No. 2, it might suddenly be valuable for the Indians to consider sticking with him for at least one more season. But will that be the best move for Jimenez? Who knows.
[Related: Indians 4, Orioles 3: On the Verge of Losing It]