So how does everyone feel about the Ubaldo Jimenez trade right about now?
During Jimenez’s breakout first half of the season in 2010, he posted a 2.20 ERA in 18 starts for the Rockies. But after a year and a half of miserable baseball in Cleveland, we all assumed that version of Jimenez had long since disappeared.
But suddenly, and surprisingly quietly, Jimenez is back. In 18 starts since June 1, Jimenez has posted a 2.63 ERA – better than all but six American League pitchers in that span.
Jimenez has been particularly dominant as of late, posting a 1.94 ERA since the All-Star Break. In that span, only three pitchers – Jose Fernandez, Joe Kelly and Clayton Kershaw – have been better.
Early in the season when Jimenez was getting shelled I very seriously suggested the Tribe simply cut ties. He was a headache and a reminder of what, at the time, looked like a disaster of a trade. A few months later, they may be riding him to the playoffs.
When looking at an even more recent sampling of Jimenez’s hot streak, he’s even more impressive.
Since joining the Tribe, Jimemez has struggled with control, even during the early games of his hot streak. Between June 1 and August 17, Jimenez walked at least four batters six different times. But in his last three starts (20 total innings) he’s struck out 24 batters and walked just two. And he’s done it against three teams – the Braves, Orioles and Royals – who are a minimum of six games above .500.
I keep waiting for Jimenez to implode once again, but maybe, just maybe, it’s time for everyone to admit that he’s really back.
A few other notes from tonight’s win over the Royals…
- Jimenez’s 1.94 ERA since the All-Star Break would be nearly unprecendeted for a Tribe pitcher if he can hold it there through the end of the season. The last Tribe pitcher with a lower post-All-Star Break ERA was Bob Lemon in 1952.
- Chris Perez loaded the bases before shutting the door on the Royals. It was the sixth time this season he allowed at least three baserunners in a save opportunity. Only the Orioles’ Jim Johnson (nine) and the Rays’ Fernando Rodney (seven) have more pathetic save attempts.
- Royals starter Ervin Santana picked up the loss. His teams are now 1-7 in games he’s started at Progressive Field. The one victory: his no-hitter in 2011.
- Wild Card update: the Rays were off, so the Tribe picks up a half-game. They’re now 1.5 games back of Tampa and tied with the Orioles who also won.