Joel Peralta will be staying in Tampa Bay, as the free agent reliever and the Rays have agreed to a two-year, $6 million contract with a team option for 2015. Peralta signed with the Rays in 2011 after the Nationals cut him loose despite excellent numbers the previous season and has logged 135 innings with…
CLEVELAND—How much longer can the Orioles stay with Ubaldo Jimenez in the starting rotation?
In Jimenez’s last four starts, he’s allowed 23 runs, 19 earned on 27 hits in 16 2/3 innings.
Saturday’s start was his shortest with the Orioles and one of his worst.
Jimenez lasted just 1 2/3 innings, and gave up six runs, three earned in a 11-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians before 21,110 at Progressive Field.
He was nearly done in the first inning, but Rajai Davis struck out with two outs to end an inning he’d already given up four runs in.
Vance Worley, who was warming in the first inning, came in to relieve Jimenez after two runners reached after two were out.
Manager Buck Showalter won’t make a decision now on the next step with Jimenez, but he’s been through ups and downs with him.
“He’s not able to get the ball where he needs to get it. You saw it. Walks and deep counts, kind of taking away the possibility of something other than a fastball, and that’s been a challenge for him,” Showalter said.
In 2014, Jimenez’s first year with the Orioles, he was sent to the bullpen late in the season, but he doesn’t want to contemplate a return there.
“I don’t think about that. It’s not my job to think about that. The only thing I worry about is getting ready every day. Whatever it is, I take it. It’s not my job,” Jimenez said.
Jimenez (2-6) was in trouble instantly. Carlos Santana singled. Jason Kipnis walked, and after an infield out, Mike Napoli grounded to third baseman Pedro Alvarez, who muffed the ball for an error, scoring Santana and Kipnis.
After Jose Ramirez walked, Napoli and Ramirez pulled off a double steal, and both scored on Yan Gomes’ single.
Lonnie Chisenhill singled Gomes to third, and Chisenhall stole second, the third steal of the inning.
Davis thought he walked on a full count, but was called out on strikes, temporarily saving Jimenez.
With two outs in the second, Francisco LIndor singled and stole second. Lindor scored on Napoli’s single, and after Ramirez walked, Jimenez was finished.
His failure to hold runners on badly hurt.
“It’s been a challenge for him. Sometimes, he’s really engaged in it and quick to the plate and sometimes he’s not. We’ve harped on it since he’s been here and it’s been a challenge for him throughout his career,” Showalter said.
“It’s tough on the catchers because our guys are really good at it if they get a chance. We did some things that didn’t help him, too. We had some throwing errors, but when you’re so deep in the counts and 30-some pitches in the first inning, that’s got everybody kind of on their heels there.”
Matt Wieters, who had allowed only four runners to steal on him in the first 29 games he caught, allowed five, four by Jimenez.
“They’ve got guys who have a lot of tools. The best way to keep them from running is to keep them from getting on base, and they were able to get on. I made a couple throws that didn’t quite carry for me like I wanted to today, but that’s OK. We’ll get back at it tomorrow and try to get a win,” Wieters said.
The Orioles (27-20) scored against Danny Salazar (5-3) in the fifth when Jonathan Schoop singled, Alvarez doubled and Joey Rickard walked to load the bases with two outs.
Adam Jones’ fly ball to center scored Schoop.
With Cleveland (25-22) leading 8-1, Mark Trumbo and Wieters hit back-to-back doubles, and the Orioles were down by six.
Tommy Hunter, in his first outing against the Orioles since his trade last July allowed two runs in the seventh on an RBI double by Jones, and a double play.
Jimenez’s next outing would be scheduled for Thursday, the day that Yovani Gallardo throws his first rehab start. But, in the interim Wieters will attempt to boost Jimenez.
“We have seen where Ubaldo can come back and he has the sort of mental fortitude to kind of rebound and in this clubhouse, we know how much pride he takes in going out there, so we’re going to try and help any way we can and try to get him back where he needs to be. We’re confident he’ll get there,” Wieters said.
NOTES: The Orioles made four errors for the second time this season, and allowed a season high 11 runs for the third time. Six of the 11 runs were unearned. … There was a 22 minute rain delay in the eighth. … Chris Tillman (6-1, 2.61) faces Mike Clevinger (0-1, 8.71) on Sunday. … Worley pitched 4 1/3 innings in relief, equaling the longest in his career.
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Though Dusty Baker had already made the call earlier in the week to sit Anthony Rendon for Saturday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals, his third baseman's recent torrid stretch at the plate nearly gave the Nats' skipper second thoughts.
"I hate to give a guy a day off when they're getting hits and starting to look good," Baker said before Saturday's game.
Still, he stayed true to his word, giving Rendon the day off and tapping Stephen Drew to take over at the hot corner.
"I told him [earlier] he'd be out Saturday. I said 'Give me all you got until your day off on Saturday,'" the manager said. "And he did."
Rendon's hot streak has been a much-needed sigh of relief for the offense, as his previous struggles were reaching the point where Nats fans might have wondered if he'd ever reclaim his 2014 form. That guy —the then 24-year-old who finished fifth in National League MVP voting and was once nicknamed "Tony Two-bags" — had been missing for the last season-plus as he battled either injury or inconsistency.
But since Rendon was dropped to sixth in the batting order, the almost 26-year-old has slowly started to resemble what he was two seasons ago. In the last 10 games, he's raised his average from .237 to .262 thanks to six multi-hit efforts that included four doubles, a home run and a triple. Baker noted that Rendon had been making great contact all along, and part of his breakout is simply getting those hits to drop.
"He's kinda been our hard-luck guy," Baker said.
Rendon had played all 49 of Washington's games prior to Saturday, prompting Baker to describe the day off as "much needed." And when he returns, the Nats have to hope he can continue to be a presence in a lineup that desperately needs someone other than Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy to produce consistently.
"He's looking good," Baker said. "He's looking real good."
Now that Troy Brouwer’s impressive playoff run with the St. Louis Blues has ended, what’s in store for the 30-year-old future free agent?
During the Blues’ breakup day, Brouwer told the St. Louis media that he’d love to re-sign with the Blues, but he also knows he’s not their only offseason priority.
“It’s a spot we really enjoyed this year,” Brouwer said. “I don’t know exactly what the cap situation is. I know it’s a business and I know they have young guys coming up with contracts in a year or two. You can’t just look at this season. You have to look forward to what their cap situations are going to be in years to come. It’s definitely a team and a city and a franchise I would love to come back to if the opportunity makes itself available.”
The Blues have five forwards set to become unrestricted free agents on July 1, including captain David Backes, who made $4.5 million this season. And with forward Patrik Berglund, defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and goaltender Brian Elliott all set to become free agents a year from now, Brouwer realizes his time in St. Louis may be coming to an end, especially if he wants a four- or five-year contract that can take him into retirement.
Brouwer’s market value peaked during the playoffs when he recorded eight goals and five assists in 20 games. The offensive outburst was notable since in his previous 78 career playoff games, Brouwer had just seven goals (3 with the Capitals, 4 with the Blackhawks).
“Considering I wasn’t able to contribute offensively in previous post-seasons and to be such a big part of it in such big moments, personally it’s rewarding,” Brouwer said. “But to see the look on the guys’ faces when we move on to the next round and the next round and win those big games and to be part of that, it was an amazing experience for me and it was a lot of fun. But I wish we were still playing.”
So do T.J. Oshie and the Capitals. Brouwer and Oshie were traded for each other last summer and both enjoyed strong seasons with their new teams. Brouwer netted 18 goals in the regular season and eight in the playoffs for the Blues, while Oshie notched 26 goals in the regular season and six goals in the playoffs for the Caps. Prior to this season Oshie had five goals in 30 playoff games with the Blues.
“I don’t want anybody to forget Oshie was a great player for this franchise for a long time,” Brouwer said. “I’m glad the trade worked out on both sides. I know he’s going to have another good year in Washington next year. I’m just glad that maybe I could get some of the people who were a little hurt by the trade on my side a little.”
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