Ubaldo limits damage despite six walks
Righty allows more free passes than usual, but strikeouts get him out of jams
CLEVELAND -- Before Saturday's 2-1 loss in Cleveland, Ubaldo Jimenez had not walked more than three batters in a game all season.
Impressive, considering he's averaged more than four walks per nine innings throughout the course of his 10-year career.
Through all the ups and downs of Jimenez's career, the one constant that's always remained is the walks. For his career, Jimenez has walked nearly 11 percent of all batters he's faced. The lowest it's ever been in a single season was 9.3 percent. At it's worst, last year, it reached nearly 14 percent. But this year, for the first time, Jimenez has had the walks under control, walking batters at better than half the rate he did last season.
"I'm healthy and able to have good mechanics," Jimenez said. "I'd been pulling my mechanics a little, but with the help of the pitching coaches that's pretty much it, having good mechanics."
But things changed on Saturday, as Jimenez walked six Indians while lasting just five innings.
Jimenez said he had a hard time finding a grip on the baseball.
"I don't know how to explain it," Jimenez said. "It's just one of those games where you grab the ball in your hand and it feels like it has baby powder on it."
Yet he was able to limit the damage. By striking out five batters and limiting damage on balls in play, Jimenez was able to hold the Indians to just one run on six hits.
He used the strikeouts to escape jams in several instances. Back-to-back looking strikeouts to Michael Bourn and Jose Ramirez in the second inning got him out of a bases-loaded jam. A swinging strikeout to Lonnie Chisenhall ended the third with men on first and third.
"I like the way he didn't let it get away from him," manager Buck Showalter said. "He didn't give in, he competed. I know it was a challenge for him with the walks, but he seemed to find a way to get out of it."