August 2, 2013
The winning streak ended with a gigantic thud.
In retrospect, it may not have mattered that Asdrubal Cabrera booted a ball that should have been an inning-ended double play. Had Cabrera caught the ball, Jimenez would have been out of the inning with only 15 pitches expended. He then could have gone his usual 5-6 innings, allowed a couple runs on 5 hits and 2 walks, and given way to the bullpen in the hopes that the offense could do something against Jose Fernandez. But this speculation feels a little duplicitous because it feels like I'm excusing Cabrera's error. That error had nothing to do with Cabrera's range, or lack thereof. Had Miguel Cabrera get playing shortstop tonight, he would have gotten to the ball that Giancarlo Stanton did. This error was all about execution, in this case the act of picking up a ground ball with your glove and/or hand. Cabrera did not execute one of the easiest actions a shortstop has to perform.
Ubaldo Jimenez had to make 16 more pitches in the first innings because of that error, and by the time he finally recorded the third out the Marlins were up 4-0. It was the beginning of an outing that didn't last very long innings-wise, though he made the innings that he did appear in seem to stretch beyond endurance. He faced eight batters in the first inning, seven in the second frame, five in the third inning, and five in the fourth, That's 25 batters, or just three fewer than Miami starter Jose Fernandez faced in eight innings (and against a tougher lineup). So yes, Jimenez was hurt badly by his defense, but his bad pitching had much to do with his fate as well.
The only sliver of silver lining can be found in the fact that Jose Fernandez was virtually unhittable tonight. Although if Jimenez had pitched six innings and allowed his couple runs, I'd be rolling my eyes, saying "oh well", and looking forward to starting a new winning streak tomorrow against a mortal starting pitcher. Actually, that last part still holds true, as a 10-0 loss counts just as much as a 2-0 pitcher's duel defeat. The only difference is of course is the lingering feeling that you take away from the game. Did the team at least play good in defeat? The answer to that is no, even if you give the offense a pass.
So, about Jose Fernandez. If you watched or listened to tonight's game you will have heard Fernandez's story by now, a story of a young man who finally escaped Cuba on his fourth try and made the most of his opportunities in life and in baseball. And now, just having turned 21, he's one of the best pitchers in the game today. He made the Cleveland lineup that yesterday had their way with Chris Sale look completely punchless. He struck out a career-high 14 batters, walked 1 (amusingly, that one was Ubaldo Jimenez), and allowed just three hits. Had he been a couple years older, he undoubtedly would have finished off the Indians in the ninth, claiming his first career shutout. This is a pitcher that graduated high school the same year as Francisco Lindor, and hasn't let appeared in a AA or AAA game. He's an amazing pitcher, an amazing person, and hopefully will have a long and fulfilling career with the Marlins and whoever the Marlins trade him to in 4 years.
Tonight was a total loss. Let's get 'em tomorrow!
Roll Call (33 Commenters)
|3||Mr. Bad Example||18|
|29||Deep South Ken||1|