Ubaldo's rough season continues in loss to Texas

Ubaldo's rough season continues in loss to Texas

Ubaldo's rough season continues in loss to Texas
ARLINGTON -- Indians general manager Chris Antonetti leaned against a golf cart outside the visitors' clubhouse on Tuesday afternoon, explaining that his presence in Texas was not an impromptu visit, but rather a trip planned well in advance.

When the trip was booked, it is safe to assume Antonetti had not planned on watching his ballclub play out the schedule as a last-place team. Cleveland limped to a 6-4 defeat to the Rangers in a game plagued by errors, and sent to the books with Ubaldo Jimenez in the loss column.

"Everybody still has something to play for," Antonetti said.

That includes Jimenez, who has won just one game since July 14 and has a Major League-leading 16 losses. The right-hander's latest defeat was hardly helped by the three errors commited behind him, but there is no denying that his showing as a whole this year has been disappointing.

Jimenez, who allowed five runs (two earned) in five innings, has at least three starts left to end this sour season on a positive note.

"I'm not ready to quit," Jimenez said.

Antonetti -- the trigger man behind the five-player trade that brought Jimenez to Cleveland from Colorado last summer -- is not yet willing to declare that the club will pick up the pitcher's $5.75 million club option for 2013. Then again, Antonetti is quick to clump Roberto Hernandez and Travis Hafner into any discussion along those lines.

"We have the time to make that decision on not only him," Antonetti said, "but obviously Roberto as well, and Hafner to a lesser degree. Those are decisions we'll make in the offseason."

Jimenez seems likely to be back for a couple of reasons.

Cleveland's projected 2013 rotation will be missing Josh Tomlin (Tommy John surgery on his right elbow), while Carlos Carrasco (returning from the same issue) will likely have an innings limit. Hernandez could be gone, Zach McAllister is short on experience and the farm system lacks impact starting pitching prospects at the upper levels.

Former Cleveland first-rounders Drew Pomeranz and Alex White might have fit into that last category, but they were shipped to the Rockies in order to reel in Jimenez.

Jimenez's latest effort was not awful, but he still dropped to 9-16, becoming the first Indians pitcher since 1991 (Greg Swindell) to chalk up at least 16 losses in one year. His 5.52 ERA is the fifth-highest mark for a season among Indians pitchers (minimum 162 innings) in team history.

Jimenez leads the Majors in losses and wild pitches (16), and the American League in stolen bases allowed (30). He has issued 89 walks, which is the second-highest total in the AL. Jimenez has gone 1-9 with a 7.13 ERA in his last 12 starts and 0-8 with an 8.50 in his past nine road outings.

Jimenez's nickname in the clubhouse has been The Big U, but his season has been the Big Ugly.

"As a player," Jimenez said, "you're never going to think like that, that you're going to have a season like this. You're always going to think positive and be optimistic. But it's happened."

Cleveland manager Manny Acta was quick to defend Jimenez after the pitcher's effort against Texas (84-57). Acta pointed to the fact that an errant throw by third baseman Jason Donald, and the subequent missed-catch error charged to first baseman Russ Canzler, opened the floodgates in the Rangers' four-run second inning.

Adrian Beltre reached on the botched chopper and later scored on a one-out single by Michael Young. The Rangers churned out a couple more hits, drew a walk, benefited from a wild pitch, scored a run on a sacrifice fly and ran to a quick 4-0 lead over Cleveland.

"A team like that, you can't give them extra outs," said Donald, who made two errors and could have been charged with three. "Obviously, I did that tonight. It stinks. It's unfortunate, because Ubaldo really pitched a good game. There's no explanation needed."

Beltre added his 31st home run of the season in the fifth by sending a 1-0 pitch from Jimenez off the top of the wall in left-center. It was initially ruled a double, but the umpiring crew reversed the call and instead rewarded the hot-hitting third baseman with a leadoff blast.

"They felt that it hit some metal bar back there behind the padding," Acta explained. "That was the deciding factor."

It was a poor combination for an Indians squad that has gone 9-34 since July 26.

"Those guys have got a very good ballclub," Acta said of the Rangers. "You can't afford to be giving them extra outs. Unfortunately, we did that in that second inning and it ended up costing us four runs. Ubaldo threw the ball very well."

The Tribe (59-83) dd what it could to rally, too.

After being blanked in both the runs and hits columns through four innings, Cleveland struck for one run in each of the fifth and sixth innings against Texas lefty Matt Harrison. The Indians added a pair of runs off the Rangers' bullpen in the eighth, but the comeback fell short.

The season has not gone as planned, but Antonetti wants to see his club take advantage of the remaining schedule.

"Our focus is trying to get the most out of every day we play," he said. "That needs to be the entirety of the focus for our Major League staff, our front office and our players. Let's get the most out of every day that we have left."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.