July 28, 2013
To be completely fair to Ubaldo, he has been a decent 5th starter for the Indians this season. Had Brett Myers done what Ubaldo has done, I think everyone would be content with it, perhaps even happy with it. But the Indians acquired Jimenez with the thought he'd be the team's best pitcher the second half of 2011, plus 2012 and 2013. The pitcher that the Indians thought they acquired doesn't exist any more, but it his place is a back-of-the-rotation guy who normally five innings and generally keeps you in the game.
But occasionally this fifth starter surprises you. Some of today's outstanding start has to do with the way the Texas Rangers are hitting right now, but Jimenez deserves most of the credit. He pitched inside, he used his fastball to get ahead in the count, and made good pitches when he needed to make them. He got lucky in a couple spots, but perhaps that luck came because he set the batter up the pitch before. Whatever side of the fence you reside on, today we can all appreciate the results and what they mean to this team.
Alexi Ogando has given the Indians fits when he's faced them, and today was no exception. But because the Indians worked counts and forced up his pitch count, Ogando was pulled in the fifth inning just after the Indians got on the board with a Jason Kipnis bloop single. And after Ogando left the game, the Tribe offense went to work. In the sixth inning, Yan Gomes knocked an RBI single back up the middle, and Michael Bourn put the game away with an opposite field double that drove in two more runs. That pushed the lead to 4-0, and Terry Francona decided to bring Jimenez back out for the seventh inning, unknown territory for Ubaldo. And not only did he get through the seventh, but the eighth as well.
Those eight strong innings along with the late runs allowed Francona to rest his key relievers. Chris Perez and Joe Smith, who had pitched the first two games in the series, could get a days' rest. Vinnie Pestano pitched the ninth instead, retiring the Rangers in order thanks to a double play. Great starting pitching not only leads to wins, but sometimes to easy wins, and those easy wins can help a manager keep his bullpen both rested and sharp.
The defense also helped keep the Rangers off the board, with one outstanding play came from an unexpected source:
Even with the sweep of the Rangers (the first time they've pulled off a home sweep of Texas since 1980), the Indians didn't gain any ground on Detroit over the weekend because the Tigers pulled off a sweep of their own. But the Indians have made up ground in the Wild Card race:
American League Wild Card Standings
|Tampa Bay||62||43||.590||0||Lost 1|
|New York||55||50||.523||7||Won 1|
|Kansas City||51||51||.500||9.5||Won 6|
|Los Angeles||48||54||.470||12.5||Lost 2|
(updated 7.28.2013 at 6:16 PM EDT)
The Indians have leapfrogged the Texas Rangers, and trail the Orioles by just one game for a Wild Card spot.
Roll Call (31 Commenters)
|3||Mr. Bad Example||36|
|21||new zealand tribe fan||3|
|24||VA tribe fan||3|
|26||Daniel Van Meter||2|