Jiménez with the Baltimore Orioles
Baltimore Orioles – No. 31
Born: January 22, 1984|
Nagua, Dominican Republic
|September 22, 2006 for the Colorado Rockies|
(through May 3, 2015)
|Earned run average||3.96|
Career highlights and awards
Ubaldo Jiménez García (born January 22, 1984) is a Dominican professional baseball pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles of Major League Baseball (MLB). He has also played for the Colorado Rockies and the Cleveland Indians. Jiménez was an MLB All-Star in 2010. That year, he pitched the first no-hitter in Rockies' franchise history.
Jiménez made his Major League Baseball debut on September 26, 2006. He came in as a relief pitcher for the Colorado Rockies during the eighth inning of an 11–4 home loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He allowed two hits and no runs. He would make his first major league start on October 1 against the Chicago Cubs on the road, which was the last game of the regular season. Jiménez allowed three hits and three earned runs over a span of 6 2⁄3 innings in an 8–5 loss. He didn't receive a decision for the game.
Jiménez earned his first major league win on July 29, 2007 at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He pitched six innings, giving up four hits and two earned runs. The Rockies won the game, 9–6. On September 5, he gained the distinction of giving up Barry Bonds's 762nd and final career home run. Jiménez made his Major League Baseball postseason debut on October 6 during Game 3 of the 2007 National League Division Series in Colorado against the Philadelphia Phillies. He started the game and pitched six innings, allowing three hits and one earned run, as part of a 2–1 victory (the win gave the Rockies a series sweep over the Phillies). However, Jiménez didn't receive a decision for the game. He started his second consecutive game of the postseason on October 12, which was Game 2 of the 2007 National League Championship Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on the road. He pitched five innings, giving up one hit and one earned run. The Rockies would eventually win the game, 3–2, but Jiménez received his second straight postseason no-decision. Colorado swept Arizona and faced the Boston Red Sox in the 2007 World Series. Jiménez started Game 2, suffering a 2–1 loss in Boston. He allowed three hits and two earned runs in 4 2⁄3 innings. Boston went on to sweep Colorado.
During the 2008 offseason, Jiménez signed a four-year, $10-million dollar contract with a club option up to 2013–14. In the 2009 season, he went 15–12 with a 3.47 ERA, his second full season as a starter in the majors. Jiménez pitched at least six innings in a franchise-record 25 consecutive starts from May 1 – September 7.
Jiménez pitched for the Dominican Republic during the 2009 World Baseball Classic. On March 10, he set a single-start strikeout record, fanning 10 of the 13 batters he faced during his 65-pitch, four-inning performance in Round One against the Netherlands.
Jiménez threw the first no-hitter in the history of the Colorado Rockies on April 17, 2010, as part of a 4–0 road victory over the Atlanta Braves. He walked 6 batters, while striking out 7, and throwing a career-high 128 pitches (72 for strikes). He faced 31 batters in the game. The no-hitter was preserved by a diving catch in center field by Dexter Fowler in the bottom of the seventh inning. Jiménez's fastball reached 100 mph three times during the game, and it averaged 96.8 mph. During the no-hitter, Jiménez switched from the windup to the stretch delivery after issuing a lead-off walk in the fifth inning (his sixth total walk of the game). Following the switch, he didn't allow a walk for the remainder of the game.
Jiménez was named the National League Pitcher of the Month for April, becoming the second pitcher in Rockies history to win a Pitcher of the Month award. Jiménez was only the second pitcher in MLB history to throw a no-hitter and notch five wins in the month of April. He also set a franchise record for consecutive scoreless innings (22 1⁄3) for a starting pitcher (the streak was eventually snapped on May 3 after 25 1⁄3 straight scoreless innings). He broke that mark shortly thereafter, as he went 33 straight scoreless innings from May to June, which was a franchise record for not only starting pitchers, but relievers as well (Gabe White previously held the team record of 29 consecutive scoreless innings). Jiménez became the first pitcher since Jack Morris in 1986 to have two streaks of at least 25 consecutive scoreless innings in one season. He was again named National League Pitcher of the Month for May. He became the first pitcher in Rockies history to win the award more than once and the first pitcher since Pedro Martínez in 1999 to win the award in April and May.
Jiménez was the third pitcher in MLB history to win 11 out of his first 12 games and have an ERA below 1.00 (0.93). He had the lowest ERA (0.78) in MLB history through 11 starts. In his one loss, he went seven innings, giving up two hits and one earned run in a 2–0 road loss against the Los Angeles Dodgers. On July 4, 2010, Jiménez was one of two Rockies, along with shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, selected as a National League All-Star to play in the 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Anaheim, CA. He entered the game leading all Major League pitchers with a 15–1 record and a 2.20 ERA (as of July 8). On July 12, 2010, Jiménez was named the starting pitcher for the National League All-Star team ahead of fellow NL aces Tim Lincecum, Roy Halladay, and Adam Wainwright. In two scoreless innings he threw 25 pitches with two hits, one strikeout, one walk, and 3 baserunners. 2010 was the NL's first All-Star win since 1996 and Jiménez's first All-Star selection. Jiménez would finish the season on a rough note, going 4-7 after the All star break. Jiménez finished 19-8 and an ERA of 2.88 in 221.1 innings pitched for the Rockies.
The following season, Jiménez through 21 starts was 6-9 for the Rockies, who at the time were considering trading Ubaldo.
On July 31, 2011, Jiménez was traded to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for Alex White, Joe Gardner, Matt McBride and Drew Pomeranz. Noted baseball writer Tom Verducci wrote in Sports Illustrated shortly before the trade "Jimenez has terrific stuff, a powerful frame and the work ethic of a blast furnace" but was working an alarming number of innings in high altitude conditions and putting strain on the Rockies' ace. Jiménez would later recount the difficult days he had with the Rockies organization in a 2012 interview during spring training. "It was kind of hard being with the Rockies. I went through a lot of things people outside the organization don't know. But me and the people in the front office know."
On April 2, 2012, Jiménez was suspended 5 games by MLB for hitting former teammate Troy Tulowitzki with a pitch on the elbow the previous day. They walked toward each other and were separated, but no punches were thrown and no ejections were made. Jiménez was in conflict with Tulowitzki after he and former teammate Carlos González got lucrative contract extensions after the 2010 season, while Jiménez did not. He originally intended to appeal the suspension but later decided against doing so. In a start against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 14, Jiménez struggled with his command and had his shortest outing on the season, being pulled after 2 1/3 innings, and matched a career-high 8 earned runs. In his previous 7 games his ERA was 2.14 but after the loss, his record fell to 8-8 and ERA rose to 5.09. Jiménez finished with a career worst 17 losses while winning 9 games for the Indians. He also led the league in wild pitches with 16.
Jiménez rebounded in 2013, finishing with a record of 13-9 in 32 starts for the Indians. He also dropped his ERA to 3.30, 2 runs lower from the previous season.
Jiménez elected to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Indians and became a free agent on November 1, 2013.
On July 11, 2014, Jimenez was placed on the 15 day DL due to a right ankle sprain. In his first season with Baltimore, Jimenez was 6-9 with a 4.81 ERA in 25 games (22 starts). He was also left off the playoff roster.
On April 11, 2015, in his first start of the season, Jimenez pitched 7 shutout innings, against the Toronto Blue Jays. He allowed only two base runners, a single by José Reyes in the 4th, and a walk to him in 6th, and struck out 8.
On April 17, 2015, in a start against the Boston Red Sox, Jiménez was ejected for the first time in his career, by home plate umpire, Jordan Baker. Jiménez had hit Pablo Sandoval in the right shoulder. Baker deemed the hit by pitch intentional, after Sandoval had slid into second baseman Jonathan Schoop, to break up a double play.
Jiménez's four-seam fastball is frequently clocked as high as 96 mph, although recently, his average four-seam fastball will typically register between 90-93 mph. No one threw more pitches over 95 mph (1,342) than did Jiménez during the 2008 season.
Jiménez's two-seam fastball exhibits strong "tailing" action (moving inside on a right-handed batter and away from a left-handed batter), as well as good "sinking" action, though not always by design. Velocity ranges from 89–93 mph, though sometimes reaching 94–96 mph. In 2008, Jiménez posted a very robust ground-ball percentage of 54.4%, a testament to this pitch's effectiveness and making him an ideal pitcher for Coors Field, a ballpark known for extra-base hits.
The changeup thrown by Jiménez also exhibits strong "sinking" action, so much so that television commentators unfamiliar with Jiménez often have trouble distinguishing his change-up from a sinking fastball or a split-finger fastball. Jiménez varies the pitch by using both a circle changeup and traditional straight changeup grip. Typically thrown between 85–90 mph, the pitch will dive down and away from left-handed batters.
Jiménez's slider is usually thrown between 83–85 mph. This pitch fools batters with an unusually sharp, late break and is used second most in frequency behind his four-seam fastball. Batters often confuse this pitch with a fastball (the major league average for a fastball is approximately 91 mph) and due to the tight, late-breaking movement of the pitch, are often unable to hit it.
The final pitch in Jiménez's arsenal is a looping curveball. Used infrequently, it is thrown anywhere between 75–82 mph and exhibits a traditional "12–6" break.
Honors and awards
- National League All-Star starting roster in the 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
- 2× National League Pitcher of the Month (April – May 2010)
- No. 24 of Baseball's Best Minor League Players – MLN FAB50 Baseball 2006.
- No. 30 of Baseball's Best Minor League Players – MLN FAB50 Baseball 2005.
- No. 32 of Baseball's Best Minor League Players – MLN FAB50 Baseball 2004.
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- John Walsh (December 20, 2007). "Fastball, slider, change-up, curveball—an analysis". The Hardball Times. Archived from the original on January 12, 2014.
- "Ubaldo Jiménez – No. 24 of Baseball's Best Minor League Players – MLN FAB50 Baseball 2006".
- "Ubaldo Jiménez – No. 30 of Baseball's Best Minor League Players – MLN FAB50 Baseball 2005".
- "Ubaldo Jiménez – No. 32 of Baseball's Best Minor League Players – MLN FAB50 Baseball 2004".
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- Sky-high skills Ubaldo Jiménez earns pitching's highest rank: ace FOX Sports
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