July 9, 2013
I think I may petition Commissioner Selig to award Ubaldo Jimenez a complete game shutout for last night's game. For Ubaldo, the seventh inning might as well be the Elysian Fields, something that only exists in myths, so to throw six innings is for him the equivalent of nine innings for the average MLB pitcher. I know I'm exaggerating, but not by much: in 18 starts this year, JImenez has pitched 7 innings or more just three times. He's a durable pitcher but not an innings eater, oftentimes a bullpen wrecker, but sometimes in spite of himself he'll throw out a perfectly acceptable six inning start, and last night he combined length with craftiness to keep the opposition off the board.
The Indians haven't seen the Blue Jays since the first series of the season, when they were priming for a playoff run. Now, with the All-Star Break looming, it doesn't look like that run is happening, for although they are hovering around .500, they are sitting in last place in the AL East. They're in an awkward position, having a lot of tradeable talent but probably unwilling to trade too much of it lest they be thought a rebuilding team. However, one player that it makes sense for them to trade faced the Indians last night. Josh Johnson was one of the players acquired last winter in the megadeal with the Marlins, and although he's largely been a disappointment this season (missing a big chunk of the season with a triceps injury and not pitching that well when he's been healthy), they should get something for him before the trade deadline if they cover some of his salary. And his outing against the Indians certainly won't hurt his trade value, as he went seven innings, looking excellent for six of them.
The only blip of the Johnson's evening turned out to tip the game in the Tribe's favor, though. Perfect through three innings, Johnson walked Asdrubal Cabrera with one out. Now pitching out of the stretch, he got discombobulated, giving up three straight singles to Jason Kipnis, Nick Swisher, and Michael Brantley, and suddenly the Indians were up two runs. A visit by manager John Gibbons snapped him out of his rut, but the damage had been done, although you certainly didn't expect two runs to be fatal to the Blue Jays.
Unlike Johnson, Ubaldo was in and out of trouble all night. He allowed a first inning double, a second inning "double" (Michael Brantley lost a ball in the lights) and walk, and (in his biggest jam) a fourth inning double and single, but somehow kept the normally productive Jays offense off the board. He wasn't really a different pitcher last night, he just didn't allow any runs. I hope that makes sense.
The Indians got an insurance run they didn't need in the eighth inning. Drew Stubbs led off the inning with a ringing double, Michael Bourn sacrificed him to third with a sacrifice bunt, and Asdrubal Cabrera drove him home with sacrifice fly. Both Bourn and Cabrera have really been struggling at the plate over the last week, but in that instance they were able to help out of the offense.
Meanwhile the new 7th/8th/9th bullpen lineup was working as intended. Cody Allen retired the Jays in order in the seventh (a double play erased a leadoff single), Joe Smith did the same in the eighth (a double play taking care of a one-out walk), and Chris Perez allowed two groundball singles but didn't allow any more damage.
Roll Call (39 Commenters)
|13||Mr. Bad Example||11|
|18||new zealand tribe fan||8|