Every Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher other than Chris Tillman has had at least one bad outing thus far in 2014, but Ubaldo Jimenez is the one starter that has yet to post a quality start. As bad as it may seem, we suggest that you give Jimenez some time before you begin to panic that the $50 million man is already a dud.
Before we get into, let us just state that there is no denying that Jimenez has been a disappointment thus far, but remember, it has been just three starts and his first one was not terrible as he allowed four earned runs in six innings.
Thus far in 2014, Jimenez has an 0-3 record with a 7.31 ERA in 16 innings pitched with an abysmal 2.063 WHIP, 2.3 home runs allowed per nine innings and leads the league with ten walks allowed already. None of those numbers represent a number two pitcher or the type of contract he received from the Orioles this offseason.
Having said that, let's look at his career numbers before pressing the panic button.
Including this season, Jimenez still boasts a sub-four ERA, 1.35 WHIP and a career mark of 0.7 home runs allowed per nine innings. Obviously he has a track record of performing much better than he has thus far this year, and when you watch the three starts he has made it is easy to see what has been the issue, his command.
Jimenez has just not had his command and his release point has been vastly inconsistent, which is something he can fix. Currently, his 5.6 walks per nine innings would be a career worst and are a far cry from the 4.1 mark he has over his career.
His career numbers show that he is going to get better, but let's dive even deeper into the numbers to show it is not time to panic just yet.
The following information should be the most useful statistics to help ease the worry with Jimenez. Over the course of his career, Jimenez has struggled more in one month than any other month in the season, and that is April (includes the rare March regular season games). Of all months in the regular season, Jimenez's worst month in almost every category is April: 5.21 ERA (worst), 1.565 WHIP (worst), 7,3 strikeouts per nine innings (worst), 1.36 strikeouts per walk (worst), .365 opposing on base percentage (worst) and a .256 opposing batting average (second worst (August .257)).
As you can see, Jimenez is one of those guys around the league, and there are several of them, that just does not perform well in the season's first month, and that trend has continued for him thus far in 2014. Incase you were wondering, Jimenez's career ERA in each month of the season is: 5.21 in April, 3.89 in May, 3.17 in June, 4.11 in July, 4.29 in August and 3.47 in September/October.
We can dive even deeper into the numbers to support our case. 2009 and 2013 were two of Jimenez's three best seasons as 2010 was by far his best as he posted a sub-three ERA and nearly won the NL Cy Young Award. In 2009, Jimenez's ERA that April was 7.58 and he had a 2.105 WHIP, but once the season was over, he posted a 15-12 record with a 3.47 ERA, 1.229 WHIP and tossed 218 innings. In 2013 with the Indians, Jimenez has a 7.13 ERA in April, but finished the season with a 13-9 record, 3.30 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP.
As you can see, a bad April does not spell doom for Jimenez and two of his best three seasons began with a horrible April to begin those campaigns, thus before you hit the panic button, trust that his track record will hold and give Jimenez some time.
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