Ubaldo Jimenez Back On Track With Shutout?

After a brutal start to the season, including an ERA over 5.00 and an 0-5 record, Ubaldo Jimenez appears to be righting the ship following Wednesday’s complete game shutout victory over the Dodgers. Jimenez looked much more like himself on Wednesday, recording seven strikeouts and only allowing four baserunners, all on singles. His fastball scraped 96 MPH in the ninth inning on his 104th and 106th pitches, an excellent sign for a pitcher who has struggled with his velocity all season long. Does this start represent a turnaround for Jimenez?

It’s never difficult to find positives in a complete game shutout. The late velocity has to be the number one encouraging factor for Jimenez’s future performance. Jimenez also threw a whopping 73 strikes of his 106 pitches and induced 12 ground balls out of 24 balls in play, both well above his averages on the season. Control is a key for Jimenez, as the main factor behind his struggles this season hasn’t been his lower strikeout rate — he’s less than one strikeout per nine innings off last year’s pace — but his increased walk rate. Even after nine walkless innings, Jimenez’s walk rate sits at 4.5 BB/9. Even with his ability to suppress the home run, Jimenez hasn’t been able to afford these extra runners on base. Wednesday was a step in the right direction, and though it’s obviously unrealistic to ask for this kind of superhuman control every single start, Jimenez will need to keep his walk rate closer to 3.0 than 4.0 to regain his former glory.

Wednesday’s start also contained signals that Jimenez isn’t completely back to form. Despite lighting up the radar gun in the ninth, his fastball velocity averaged 94 MPH, still a full two MPH below his marks from 2009 and 2010. His struggles missing bats continued as well, as Dodgers hitters only whiffed on four of his 106 pitches. Perhaps it’s unfair to blame him for drawing contact on outs before Dodgers hitters even had a chance to swing and miss, and perhaps he was deceptive enough that hitters were simply watching strikes they would’ve swung right through. It is unlikely, though, that Jimenez will succeed on the level he did last year without regaining his 9.0+ percent swinging strike rate.

Although Jimenez’s start was no doubt impressive and a large step towards regaining his form of old, I’m not quite ready to declare him all the way back just yet. As he still appears to have the stuff to keep fly balls in the yard, he can be a very dangerous pitcher, and his 3.77 FIP actually indicates that he hasn’t pitched too poorly. However, in Coors Field, failing to miss bats leads to danger, particularly for a pitcher with a history of allowing as many walks as Jimenez. In his next start, Jimenez can take yet another step forward by limiting the walks again while missing bats like he has in previous seasons. After a horrible start to the season from one of 2010′s brightest spots, Wednesday’s outing shows a light at the end of tunnel.




Print This Post



Jack Moore's work can be seen at VICE Sports and anywhere else you're willing to pay him to write. Buy his e-book.


20 Responses to “Ubaldo Jimenez Back On Track With Shutout?”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. Frankie says:

    U-bad-o actually saved 3 of his best pitches for the final batter, Matt Kemp. Two of those hitting 96mph on the gun. Granted, the Dodgers were swinging (hacking) at a lot of 1st and 2nd pitches thereby allowing Jimenez to pitch deep into the game. But when he needed to pitch, he delivered. Looks like he can shed his early season nickname soon and return to Ubaldo!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. donald says:

    def. better than carpenter and danks thats forsure. max sczher looking bad…

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Mr. wOBAto says:

    His last four starts include 2 CG and a 26:8 K/BB over 33 innings, hopefully he has righted the ship and we see him hitting triple digits again soon

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. fredsbank says:

    his home/road BABIP and LOB are wildly different, some regression is expected downward at home and upward on the road…. but uball should be doing essentially what JDLR was before his injury, low to mid 3s ERA/FIP/xFIP (higher xFIP since he doesnt give up the long ball) for the rest of the season

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Ubaldo Jimenez says:

    I thought you thought my starts were “unimpressive?”

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. Ryan says:

    According to both the Rockies TV and radio broadcasts Jimenez ended the game by striking out Kemp on a 98 mph fastball. (hadn’t seen that veIocity from him this season) I thought that was a promising as the 7-0 strikeout to walk ratio.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. Jake Peavy says:

    Impressive Ubaldo…

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. Antonio Bananas says:

    can we describe “back on track”? He’s 27, so he’s not going to get much better if at all. He had a great first few months last year, otherwise he’s been like a 3.75 ERA type of guy. Not bad, but not great.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Mr. wOBAto says:

      have there been a lot of 3.75 ERA guys at Coors field? 3.99 in his first full year 3.47 in his second year 2.88 in his third so yeah he hasn’t really been consistently a 3.75 guy.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Antonio Banans says:

        It’s still a home run park but it’s not as absurd as it used to be. All I’m trying to say is that we need to clarify what “back to” means. I think a lot of people were so wowed by his start last year that it’s hard to keep in perspective exactly where he is. Personally I see him as “very good” like maybe a Tim Hudson level at his very best.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • fredsbank says:

        tim hudson is an extreme groundball pitcher who may happen to strike someone out every once in a while… ubaldo is a strikeout pitcher who gets groundballs. his periphs and results have improved every single year before this one.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Biondino says:

        Coors isn’t a home run park, it’s a doubles and triples park.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Mr. wOBAto says:

        While Coors is no longer Coors Canaveral it is easy to forget that Ubaldo Jimenez is the only pitcher in Rockies history to have a sub 3.5 ERA over 30+ starts and he did it twice in his second and third full seasons.

        Tim Hudson has never posted a 3.36 FIP like Ubaldo did in 2009 so he hasn’t touched a 3.10 FIP like he did in 2010.

        Jimenez had a start in the rain against Toronto last year, unable to grip the ball he had to go to his secondary stuff and messed up his fastball location for the next 2 months.

        That said the guy had 3 months of 2.5FIP pitching in 2010(April, May, August) 1 month of 3.00FIP(September) and two months of struggling with his fastball command with a 4.09FIP and 4.21FIP.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Mr. wOBAto says:

        I think we can all agree that Roy Halladay is the best pitcher in baseball
        his career road numbers are
        3.49ERA 1.245WHIP
        Ubaldo’s Career road numbers
        3.57ERA 1.256WHIP

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Antonio Bananas says:

        I wasn’t comparing Ubaldo and Tim based on their style, more their effectiveness. Don’t use FIP with Huddy, he’s consistently pitched lower. Plus FIP kills pitchers who are contact pitchers lke Huddy. Not only that but it’s really a stupid statistic. Just disregard everything but home runs, walks, and strikeouts? Yea, find a different statistic.

        How about, get this, we use NORMAL STATISTICS. Let’s say confidence intervals, least significant difference, etc. Adjust ERAs based on park and then use those. Or we can keep using stats someone without a stat background pulls out of who knows where that has gaping holes in it’s logic and methodology.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Mr. wOBAto says:

        Right, I am sorry I forgot someone who has a stat background and firm grasp of methodology would definitely prefer ERA to FIP.

        I have my own problems with FIP, but if you prefer the tRA model of WAR than Ubaldo’s 7.2 was the best in the NL since Randy Johnson had 7.4 in 2004 and is .5WAR better than Hudsons peak of 6.7

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Mr. wOBAto says:

        How about we measure the best seasons by Hudson against the best seasons other pitchers have had in his home parks, and then do the same for Jimenez.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Antonio Bananas says:

        Explain why you guys have so much of a hard on for Jimenez but always discredit guys like Jurrjens? Jurrjens is 25 so he’ll probably get better but his “peripherals” which include everything except what he’s good at show that he’s a 3 or 4 guy. Jimenez, who’s 27 and probably won’t get much better has had one outstanding season in which those ridiculous stats were gathered largely in the first 10 weeks of the season.

        I just don’t like how strkeout guys get so much love on here. Everyone was all over Joba Chamberlain because of his Ks. turns out he’s pretty mediocre.

        How about this, maybe FIP isn’t that good of a stat. Maybe we should use something different that isn’t so insanely bias. I’m not trying to prove that Jimenez is bad, he’s very good. However, he’ll probably never be as good as he was last year no matter what his FIP says. FIP seems to, by how the stat is formulated, give K pitchers more credit and less to contact pitchers.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. My echo and bunnymen says:

    Dodgers radar must be off by 2 mph because it lite up 98 in the Ninth. I wish I bought low on him.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current ye@r *