Command the culprit as O's righty endures shortest start of season
By Grace Raynor
NEW YORK -- He walked into the Orioles' clubhouse a little before 11 a.m. ET, sporting a beige suit and an air about him that exuded confidence and composure. But a few hours later, before the Orioles fell to the Yankees, 9-3, in Thursday's series finale at Yankee Stadium, Ubaldo Jimenez found himself shaken up as he walked off the mound to "Hit the Road Jack," concluding his worst outing of the season.
Jimenez was yanked with one out in the third inning, after the Yankees pounced on him for eight hits, seven runs and three walks. He threw 64 pitches, as the bullpen was called upon early to try to tame a situation that had already quickly gotten out of control.
"His command's been bothering him a little bit; he's been wild in the strike zone," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter of his starting pitcher. "It's not like he's walking a bunch of people, but he's a pitch away from getting out of that first inning and we're on our way."
By the end of the first inning, every Yankees batter had stepped to the plate and New York had set itself up for a sweep with a four-run cushion.
"I was falling behind in the count; I kept throwing on the front part of the plate and missing a lot right down the middle," Jimenez said. "I put myself in trouble by walking two guys, and I got two huge outs but I couldn't get out of the inning."
Jimenez's struggles continued into the second inning, when he gave up a leadoff homer on the first pitch to Ellsbury, who torched the O's with a 3-for-4, four-RBI performance. By the third inning, after three consecutive hits to the bottom of the Yanks' order, Jimenez was pulled.
The righty hasn't won since June 28 and has now given up seven runs in back-to-back outings coming out of the All-Star break.
"I was executing my pitches down in the zone [before the break], and right now I'm missing right down the middle," Jimenez said. "I'm missing up in the middle. That's why they're putting a better swing on the ball."
With the sweep, the O's could now be at a crossroads, having lost their fourth series of the month.
But Showalter said he knows better days are ahead, perhaps as soon as Friday's series opener against the Rays in St. Petersburg, and center fielder Adam Jones echoed that sentiment when he was asked how disappointing this series was.
"We got beat," Jones said. "Stop crying. That's what I'm sick and tired of, man. Stop crying. Nobody in this clubhouse [is] crying. We got beat. That's a very good team over there. [We need to] go to Tampa and do what we've got to do. There are 60-something, 70-something games left. Nobody's crying, man."
Grace Raynor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.