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2013 Spring Training Game #20: Indians 5, White Sox 2

Ubaldo Jimenez continues to improve

2013 Spring Training Game #20: Indians 5, White Sox 2
March 14, 2013
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Ubaldo Jimenez pitched five strong innings, giving up seven hits and two earned runs, while striking out three without giving up a walk, as the Cleveland Indians defeated the Chicago White Sox 5-2 on Wednesday afternoon.

You have to love an Ubaldo Jimenez start. The enigmatic righty is a lightning rod of attention whenever he pitches at this point. Today was no exception, but Jimenez showed improvement in Wednesday’s game, getting through it without giving up any walks, and getting his second win of the spring.

The bullpen locked things up with four innings of one-hit baseball, showcasing just how good and how deep the Indians’ bullpen really is.

  • Asdrubal Cabrera made his return to the line-up after missing time while playing for Venezuela during the World Baseball Classic. By all indications, the Indians’ starting shortstop didn’t miss a beat. He doubled in the third, driving in both Michael Bourn and Lonnie Chisenhall. Cabrera’s knock has been his shape in camp. There’s been no discussion of that from Cabrera from the start. Perhaps this is the year he really breaks out.

  • Lonnie Chisenhall was the only Indians’ offensive player with two hits, as he continued his hot spring. The Indians’ third baseman is hitting nearly .400 during the spring, and helped out the numbers on Wednesday with a leadoff double in the third inning, and a single in the sixth. Terry Francona is all in with Chisenhall, and the plan right now appears to be to let the kid play every day. I’m sure Mike Aviles will get his chance, but the job is Chisenhall’s.

  • Nick Hagadone has been downright dominant this spring, and what’s scary is that he has the stuff to do it. Hagadone has an explosive arm, and if he can dial it in, he surely could be one of the better relievers in all of baseball. No, that’s not hyperbole. Of course, there is more to it than pure talent. Hagadone hasn’t been able to put it all together in the regular season, but he could really force the Indians’ hand if he continues to dominate.

  • I’m still onboard the Ubaldo Jimenez express this spring. It’s easy to bash the guy after the season-and-a-half that he’s spent here. It’s been one implosion after another for the lanky righty. He’s struggled this spring at times, but the one area in which he’s been focusing on is the rhythm of his delivery, and it does appear to be getting better based on the reports that have been going out. I don’t, by any stretch, think that Ubaldo is going to find his inner-rhythm and all-the-sudden become one of the best pitchers in baseball again. Thtat truly would be a miracle. If he could find a way to be the efficient starter that he was today, the complaints would go away fairly quickly. How efficient was Jimenez today? He went five innings and still needed a bullpen session to get in his complete work. His line could be the make-or-break of the team’s playoff chances.

Tomorrow’s game

The Indians take on the Kansas City Royals tomorrow, Thursday, March 14 at 4:05PM ET/1:05PM PT with ZACH McALLISTER matching up against JEREMY GUTHRIE. The Indians will play a “B” game vs. Seattle at 10AM in Goodyear.

Cleveland AVG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO PO A
Bourn, CF 0.233 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  Hunter, C, CF 0.200 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 0
Cabrera, A, SS 0.375 2 0 1 1 0 0 2 1 0 0 0
  Diaz, Ju, SS 0.292 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Kipnis, 2B 0.194 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2
  Phelps, C, 2B 0.333 2 1 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 2 1
Swisher, 1B 0.433 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 0
  McGuiness, 1B 0.115 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 1
Brantley, LF 0.429 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
  Carson, LF 0.286 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0
Reynolds, Ma, DH 0.417 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
  a-Raburn, PH-DH 0.423 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Chisenhall, 3B 0.393 3 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
  Hernandez, L, 3B 0.174 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0
Gomes, C 0.348 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 2
  Jeroloman, C 0.222 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0
Stubbs, RF 0.233 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0
  Holt, RF 0.667 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
  Jimenez, P 0.000 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  Albers, P 0.000 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
  Shaw, P 0.000 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  Hagadone, P 0.000 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
  Gil, P 0.000 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 0.281 34 5 8 2 0 1 4 5 8 27 10

 

Cleveland ERA IP H R ER BB SO HR BF
Jimenez (W, 2-0) 5.54 5 7 2 2 0 3 0 20
Albers 10.80 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
Shaw 1.80 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 4
Hagadone 0.00 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
Gil (S, 2) 3.38 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
Totals 4.95 9 8 2 2 0 4 0 33

Jim is currently the senior editor and Columnist, as well as  the host of IBI's weekly online radio shows, Smoke Signals and Cleveland Sports Insiders. You can follow Jim on Twitter @Jim_IBI, or contact him via e-mail at jpete@indiansprospectinsider.com.

User Comments

Seth
March 14, 2013 - 1:43 PM EDT
But that's the thing with Ubaldo, he's NEVER had command. He definitely was worse last year, but he wasn't that much worse: by pitch f/x his zone % was 48.6, slightly worse than his career average of 49.2%. In 2011, his zone % was actually the highest of his career at 49.6. The biggest differences last year were his contact rate was up, and hitters offered a lot less at his pitches out of the zone. Could be that he was missing out of the zone by wider margins, but I think it's more that he wasn't fooling anyone. His breaking stuff wasn't breaking as much and his fastball was straight.

I take spring training numbers, including velocity, with a grain of salt, so this start isn't that meaningful.When Francona goes with the old "doesn't need to throw 95" line, I don't like the sound of that though. If Ubaldo's stuff is good and his mechanics are back then the velocity and movement will be there.
Jim
March 14, 2013 - 12:24 PM EDT
Bruce...it depends on what you are comparing it to. Am I comparing it to the 2010 Ubaldo?

No.

Am I comparing it to Ubaldo 2011-2012, when he threw too many pitches and never threw a strike?

Yes.

I don't know what his pitch count was, but even with the seven hits, it was low. He needed a bullpen session to get there...so he was throwing strikes...

that's what made it strong...

Yeah...there are a ton of questions because I wasn't there...but good lord man...I'll make sure to syphon out my wording next time...lol..

I'll make sure he threw 98...went 1-2-3 in most innings...and had 9 K's...
Jim
March 14, 2013 - 12:21 PM EDT
Francona said he was rocking back in his motion...but...I don't think he was suggesting that was the only issue at all. I'm pretty sure Francona's take on this is that if he cuts out some of the garbage, he can show an uptick in his velocity.

Sound thinking...but I don't, by any stretch, think Francona thinks Ubaldo will immediately turn into the 2010 version.

I heard he was 90-92, and touching 94 on occasion...but my source isn't someone that I would say is an 100% lock. He was timing it...not using a gun.

I'll wait to judge until I have someone down there with a gun, and I suspect that will be happening in a day or so.

I also suspect, Seth, that it's not going to be near as cut & dry with Ubaldo as you make it out to be. My hope is that Ubaldo makes things work. I have no reason to believe it will, and the numbers certainly are in favor with the camp (that I've been a part of for two years) that he's done.

I just decided a couple of weeks ago to leave that camp for the time being...and give him the benefit of the doubt. No, there aren't any numbers that back up that line of thinking...just hope.

I do wonder about the delivery though, and think if he is focusing there, it would be the first time he's done it for any length of time.

I don't know...we'll see. If it's true, and he was touching 94 with some pitches, that's something. If it's not true, and lies with Nessie at loch ness...we'll know soon enough.

One thing he is doing more of though is throwing strikes...

cautious optimism...
Seth
March 14, 2013 - 11:14 AM EDT
Report was he was at 90-92. I don't think he can ever be effective with that velocity, and it indicates that his mechanics are still out of whack. Maybe he's focusing on his delivery and not dialing it up all the way and the velocity will improve. If not, then I think the same issue exists and he's gone by July. The low velocity, ineffective slider are really symptoms, and much the same as what happened with Kazmir starting in '09.

Francona was saying that he thought last year Ubaldo would reach back for more velocity and that would compound the problem and flatten his stuff out, but that doesn't jive with the results, on the rare occasions where he had good movement and pitched low in the zone, he was also at 94-95 mph. He was flat at 90-92.
bruce
March 14, 2013 - 9:51 AM EDT
don't know that i'd rate 7 hits over 5 innings as "strong." Fortunately, Jimenez didn't walk anybody. Sounds more like he gutted out five innings than pitched strongly. Who was the plate umpire, and did he have a large strike zone? How hard did Jimenez throw?

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