You read the headline correctly, the Indians beat the Royals 9-0 last night behind a stellar pitching performance from Ubaldo Jimenez.
Yesterday afternoon, our very own Steve Kinsella outlined “the process” and how we all had to trust in the work Terry Francona and Mickey Callaway were doing with the one time pitching phenom. He emphasized that while we may not trust in Jimenez right now, we have to have faith that the work they are doing with him will eventually pay off. Truer words may never have been written on this site.
Jimenez came into last night’s game struggling mightily since last year’s all-star break. It was a stretch that had seen him walk batters at an exorbitant rate, allowing runs to cross the plate almost at will. The breaking point appeared to be a 7 run meltdown in just 1.2 innings of work against the Red Sox. However, Jimenez showed significant improvement against the Astros in his most recent start pointing to signs that perhaps the break through was coming. No one could have expected what we saw last night.
Over the course of 7 innings of work, Jimenez shut out the Royals to the tune of 3 hits and 2 walks while also striking out 4. He was remarkably efficient as well, throwing only 103 pitches, 69 of which went for strikes. It was this type of performance the Indians hoped to see more of when they originally traded for Jimenez, if he can build on this start and continue working through the process, perhaps there is still a chance he can be salvaged.
Jimenez wasn’t the only star of the night, though. He received an explosion of run support led by Ryan Raburn of all people. Raburn ended the night 4 for 4 with 2 home runs and 4 runs batted in. His first homer came in the top half of the fifth. Already up 5-0 thanks to a Jason Kipnis solo homer in the first, Asdrubal Cabrera RBI single in the third, and a total offensive onslaught in the fifth, Raburn drilled an 86 MPH slider deep to the stands in left to put the Indians up 8-0. Then in the top of the 8th, he poked a 98 MPH heater over the fence in right.
The 9 runs scored by the Tribe were also a sign of encouragement. Having scored 10 runs the night before, this was one of the few times all season that they have turned in this type of offensive production on back to back nights. Is this a sign of better things to come as the team prepares to welcome back Michael Bourn? Here’s hoping.
The Good: Ubaldo Jimenez and Ryan Raburn. Both provided the fire power for the Indians tonight. Jimenez showed remarkable poise by bouncing back after several lackluster performances. Meanwhile, Raburn broke out in a big way driving in four and drilling two homers in the process.
The Bad: Lonnie Chisenhall and Drew Stubbs both took donuts on the evening. However, they only struck out one time apiece. At least they were making contact and forcing the opposing defense to get them out rather than flailing away at pitches outside of the zone.
The “Huh?”: In the top of the fifth, Lonnie Chisenhall was up to bat with a 3-1 count. The next pitch was a called strike… three. Yes, the home plate umpire forgot the count and rung Chisenhall up. After a bit of confusion, mostly on the face of Chisenhall, things were figured out and Chisenhall was allowed to continue his at bat. Ironically, Chisenhall struck out swinging.