The Baltimore Orioles 2014 season has become a tale of two pitchers.
First, we have Chris Tillman. Tillman led the O’s pitching staff in 2013, going 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA. The young right-hander was poised to take that next big step in 2014 to be the true ace in Baltimore.
So far, he has been doing just that.
In his first three starts of the 2014 season, Tillman is 1-1 with a 0.84 ERA. In 21.1 innings pitched, he has struck out 15 and walked only three. He has allowed only two earned runs all season. This Chris Tillman was what the Orioles had hoped for a few years ago when they stole him—along with Adam Jones—in the trade that sent Erik Bedard to the Mariners.
The other pitcher involved in this tale is Ubaldo Jimenez, but before I talk about his 2014, let me rewind just a bit for some background.
Jimenez busted onto the scene in 2008, posting a 12-12 record with the Colorado Rockies with a 3.99 ERA. Pretty decent numbers, especially for a pitcher in Colorado. His 2009 was even better, going 15-12 with a 3.47 ERA. In 2010, Jimenez completely caught fire, going 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA and getting serious Cy Young consideration, as he finished third to Roy Halladay and Adam Wainwright.
Don’t be fooled by his 2010 season, as many other people were. Before the All Star break, Jimenez seemed like a Cy Young lock, hitting the break with a 15-1 record and a 2.20 ERA in 18 starts. After the break however, was a different story, as he finished with a 4-7 record and a still-respectable 3.80 ERA.
Jimenez was sent to the Cleveland Indians in 2011 and spent the next two years there. In 2012, he was a very unimpressive 9-17 with a 5.40 ERA. His 17 losses led the league. Not good. Then in 2013, he got off to a slow start—despite his 7-4 record, his ERA of 4.56 was less than stellar. Jiminez would turn things around in the second half of last year, however, with a 6-5 record and 1.82 ERA.
Then the Orioles signed him to a four-year deal worth $50 million.
Maybe I don’t get it, but I’m still not sure why they signed him to a four year deal. So far he has been pretty horrible. Currently, Jimenez is 0-3 with a 7.31 ERA. His 13 strikeouts in 16 innings pitched aren’t bad, but his 10 walks are horrible.
Buck Showalter said he wasn’t too worried about him, and that he gets better as the year goes on. Considering he’s starting the year with a 7.31 ERA, the only thing he can do at this point is get better as the year goes on.
by Andy Mindzak