Oh Ubaldo, what’s happened to you? What went so wrong this season that you’re 9-15 with an ERA creeping its way towards 6? How did we get to this point? Well, 4.7 walks per 9 innings and hasn’t helped any. In fact, that’s probably been the biggest problem for Jimenez all season long. We’ve documented it time and time again in every preview we’ve had, but as long as Jimenez continues to struggle in terms of finding the strike zone, he’ll continue to be an ineffective pitcher. He gets himself into too many jams of his own doing. If he plans on returning to the form that made him such a valuable commodity two seasons ago, Jimenez needs to start limiting the walks.
As for Harrison, what else can you say other than he’s been great for the Rangers in 2012? Of course it helps to take the mound every fifth day knowing the best offense in baseball has your back. He doesn’t have to be perfect. He can go out to the mound, relax and make his pitches. If he makes a mistake chances are his teammates will pick him up. He pitches more to contact, 5.5 K’s per 9 innings, but has limited himself to only 2 walks per 9 innings pitched. Simply put, he’s a solid pitcher.
Jeanmar Gomez came into the 2012 season expected to be the anchor of the Tribe’s rotation as the fifth starter. Things started off pretty well, but then took a turn for the worst. He eventually lost his job, was demoted back to Triple-A, and finally got called back up once the season was lost. Since Gomez’s return he’s 1-0 in three appearances (two starts) but has posted an ERA of 6.52 in just 9.2 innings of work. It’s a bit deceiving trying to figure out how he’s been so bad. Maybe it’s just bad luck, or maybe it’s the two long balls and five walks.
Meanwhile, Ryan Dempster was the Rangers’ big pitching acquisition at the trade deadline and while his record with them is 5-1, he hasn’t been the same pitcher that he was with the Cubs. It’s further proof that going from the National League to the American League as a pitcher is easier said than done. With the Cubs, Dempster had one of the lowest ERA’s in baseball, 2.25. With the Rangers his ERA has been 4.36 in seven starts. The addition of the DH to the opposition’s lineups combined with the change of scenery from the more pitcher-friendly Wrigley Field to the band box of the Ballpark in Arlington has been a shock to the system. But, like with Harrison, Dempster doesn’t need to be perfect, because the Rangers offense can cover up each and every mistake he makes.
For a lengthy stretch of the mid-part of the season, Zach McAllister was the Indians’ most consistent pitcher. Well, the shine appears to have worn off. Over his last three starts, McAllister is 0-3 with a 10.22 ERA in only 12.1 innings of work. The biggest problem has been an inability to keep the ball inside the stadium. McAllister has given up a whopping six home runs in his previous three starts. He’s been getting shelled. To make matters worse, one of those starts came against these same Rangers. In that start he allowed seven runs over 5.0 innings of work. Needless to say, this could get ugly if McAllister can’t regain his mojo.
The Rangers will counter with Derek Holland. In his fourth season in the Majors, he has quickly established himself as a frontline starter and the ace of the Rangers staff. He also does one hell of an Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation. What else could you really as for when it comes to a young and talented left-handed pitcher? He comes into this series red hot with a record of 4-1 and a 2.89 ERA over his previous four starts. Add in the fact that he’s left handed and the Indians’ continued struggles with left handed pitching and this doesn’t bode well for the Tribe.