Asdrubal, being awesome.
The 2012 Cleveland Indians have opened their season playing 28 innings of baseball over just two games, and they've yet to record a win. Today's contest started with promise, as Ubaldo Jimenez carried a perfect game into the sixth and a no-hitter into the seventh, but a couple of walks, a wild pitch, and the Jays first hit of the game tied the score 2-2. The Indians had taken the 2-0 lead in the fifth on a Jason Kipnis homer.
Despite his relatively impressive results, Jimenez didn't blow the Jays away. He only struck out three on the day, and his GB:FB was 1:1. He displayed a nasty slurve a few times and worked his fastball in the low-90s, but he wasn't particularly sharp, starting nine batters off with a ball. I certainly don't want to be too hard on Ubaldo, and as a first start it was encouraging, but he didn't resemble an ace, especially not when compared to Justin Masterson two days earlier.
Vinnie Pestano gave up the lead in the top of the ninth on a Kelly Johnson jack, but Asdrubal Cabrera socked his first homerun of the season to re-tie the game at three in the bottom of the final inning. It was encouraging to see that Cabrera's 2011 power surge seems to have carried over, as his homerun was a no-doubter on a high fastball that he clobbered.
Both the Indians and Jays went in order in the tenth and eleventh, before Toronto broke the game open against Tony Sipp in the top of the twelfth. Sipp looked bad, going double, single, double, K, single to the five Jays he faced before being replaced by Dan Wheeler, who didn't fare much better. The Indians battled back in the bottom of the twelfth, scoring one and bringing the tying run to the plate. Alas, Casey Kotchman ran his season line to 0-12 when he grounded out to first, ending the game.
The Indians first two games have been disappointing, but the strengths of the team seem to be approximately where most assumed: the Indians have quite a bit of pitching, both in the rotation and the bullpen, but the offense has done little to quell concerns about its potency. It appears Kipnis, Cabrera, Santana, and Choo are going to be asked to drive the Indians run-scoring, at least for the foreseeable future.
UPDATE: And not surprisingly, the Indians have chosen to drop their appeal of Ubaldo's suspension following his outing today. Thursday's off-day should effectively mean that Jimenez does not miss a start.