Adjustment helps Ubaldo rediscover dominance
BALTIMORE -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter joked with Ubaldo Jimenez following his last start, asking the right-hander if he had worn the right uniform. He was referring to Jimenez's uncharacteristic performance against the Yankees in which he allowed seven runs in a 2 1/3-inning performance.
Following Jimenez's seven-inning showing in the O's 7-3 victory over the Braves on Tuesday at Camden Yards, Jimenez engaged in a similar conversation with Showalter. Except this time, it was more of a statement than a question.
"I shook his hand after the seventh inning and said he was in the right uniform tonight," Showlater said.
Jimenez's previous start was his second of two rough outings following the All-Star break, with the other coming when he gave up seven runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Tigers. And in the opening frame of Tuesday's game, it looked like it was going to be another disappointing outing.
Jimenez gave up a leadoff single to Nick Markakis and a two-run home run to Freddie Freeman two batters later en route to a four-hit, 25-pitch opening frame.
"I think the first inning I was leading with my front shoulder a little bit," Jimenez said. "It was way too open, and the next inning I was able to get it better. They told me about it in the dugout -- they said, 'Hey, you are doing this,' and I was able to go and make an adjustment."
Jimenez responded by tossing six hitless frames while allowing three walks to pick up his first win since June 28 against the Indians. The righty fixed his mechanics going forward and retired 18 of 21 batters after the bumpy start, but he was also aided by a three-run first inning from the Orioles' offense.
He was one of the O's most reliable pitchers during the first half, going 7-4 with a 2.81 ERA, compared to a 0-2 record and 18.00 ERA in the first two starts of the second half.
"It always good when you find a way to get back on track, especially after having two really tough games," Jimenez said. "It felt really good to go out there and compete and give the team a chance to win."
Jimenez posted his ninth quality start of the season and earned his eighth win, which ranks second on the O's staff. He is 6-1 in eight starts at Camden Yards this season with a 2.13 ERA, and has recorded a quality start in six of those outings.
"He's in a good place mentally," Showalter said of Jimenez. "He doesn't wallow around in self pity. I think people really respected the way he came into camp this year. He's a guy, his teammates pull for him because he doesn't make excuses. He realizes the responsibility that comes with the commitment we made to him. We're getting a good return from it this year."