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.
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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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