This week, our staff stat down and debated over Ubaldo Jimenez for what seemed like the 9-millionth time in the past month. Love him or hate him, he elicits a reaction of some sort. So with that in mind, this week’s wroundtable question is: How confident are you that Ubaldo Jimenez has put his struggles behind him? Here is what the staff at Wahoo’s on First had to say on the subject.
Jeff Mount: I think Ubaldo will always be one pitch away from losing it, because his mechanics are so convoluted that he will have trouble maintaining them. The key is to have a catcher and a pitching coach who can recognize the trouble signs and get him back in line quickly. If his one bad inning is a run or two instead of five or six, he can win some games with this offense.
Evan Vogel: 15-23 with a 5.43 ERA over 48 starts isn’t going to be healed due to two solid starts in a row. Granted, his 1.43 ERA and 0.95 ERA over his last 12.2 innings is impressive, but what about the 14.73 ERA and 2.00 WHIP over his previous three starts and 11 innings? He is a ticking time bomb of inconsistency, which leads to resentment in fans and onlookers alike. Because he has compiled runs like this in the past, such as the four quality starts in five outings from May 16 through June 10 of the 2012 season, I am going to assume that an implosion isn’t too far off in the future. I have about as much confidence in Ubaldo Jimenez putting his struggles behind him as I do in Kim Kardashian losing the baby weight. A BIG FAT…ZERO.
Katrina Putnam: I think Jimenez is on the right track. Although he certainly had plenty of mechanical aspects that needed to improve this year, it seemed like a huge portion of his struggles were mental. Knowing that the Indians needed him to help carry the rotation combined with the stress of constantly losing wasn’t healthy for him.
Francona and Jimenez’s teammates have given him a fresh start. The recent success of the rotation seems to have helped him relax, and two consecutive wins has gone a long way to restore his confidence. The walks and wild pitches aren’t happening as frequently, and he’s pitched better with men on base. Callaway has done wonders for his mechanics. In fact, if Jimenez keeps this up — and I think he will — Mickey Callaway may be one of the best investments that the Tribe made this winter.
Geordy Boveroux: I have as much confidence in Jimenez as I do in my ex girlfriend that dumped me for my best friend in 8th grade, though I hate Jimenez a little less. For every game where this enigma strikes out eight batters and goes six or seven scoreless innings, he has three starts where he walks half the active roster of the opposition. There’s a reason I dropped him in the Wahoo’s on First fantasy league and have no intentions to add regardless of how many “promising” starts he churns out. Because those quality starts will always be just that- “promising,” as he will never produce consistently enough to be relied upon. Jimenez will always be the perfect Cleveland player, always showing hope but never delivering when needed. Can we just have McAllister start twice as often?
Steve Kinsella: I still can not trust him to work out of jams especially when the pitch count creeps up around the century mark. I still am apprehensive in the early innings as to which Ubaldo will show up. I am encouraged by the progress he’s made in following the process of keeping the ball down, getting ahead early, expanding the zone late, and getting the hitter to chase. I will also be interested to see how he reacts when he becomes unglued in the early innings. Can he regroup on the fly?
Brian Heise: No, I don’t think Jimenez has completely put all of his troubles behind him, but I think he’s moving in the right direction. Give me another month of this and then maybe we can talk. Until then, Jimenez needs to continue to improve on his ability to throw strikes and avoid walks. That’s what’s killed him in the past. Batters knew he couldn’t throw strikes so they didn’t bother swinging. It made even sub par offenses seem potent because he provided them so many more opportunities to succeed. With this new approach implemented by Francona and Callaway it seems like improvement is happening slowly. So that’s a positive.