If you are a fan of The New Kids on the Block, you may remember their hit song “You Got It (The Right Stuff).
Well yesterday, Baltimore Orioles pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez’s stuff looked pretty good. He gave up one run in two innings of work against the New York Yankees. Although the Orioles lost the game, Jimenez looked bright. 17 of his 29 pitches were strikes, and he seemed to get back into the groove of things.
“He threw strikes and he’s done it two or three times,” said Orioles manager Buck Showalter to The Baltimore Sun. “In the first couple of workdays, I could tell. I was telling [pitching coach] Roger [McDowell], ‘Have you done anything with him?’ He said, ‘no.’ I’m hoping he found something last year and he’s going to run with it this year.”
Showalter also praised Jimenez’s delivery. The changes that he has made seem to date back to that fateful game against the Nationals, where Jimenez looked as crisp as ever. In Jimenez’s final five starts of the 2016 season, he finished with a 3-1 record and a 2.51 ERA. Now it seems to have carried into the Spring as well.
“His delivery has been about as tight as I’ve seen it as far as the workout, even the side days, the pitching,” Showalter said. “I’m in the dugout. You’ve all seen some of the spring training outings when he’s trying to get his work in and depending on how you score balls, he had a lot of groundballs.”
Jimenez believes that his pitching needs to be all about attacking the zone and throwing strikes. Nibbling has seemed to get Orioles pitchers in trouble in the past. He wants to stay away from throwing pitches that he doesn’t necessarily need to.
“I think that’s what I was able to do in the last part of the season,” said Jimenez through PressBox. “That was attacking the strike zone, getting ahead and staying ahead. That’s going to save me a lot of pitches and going to allow me to get deeper in the games.”
If it can carry over to the regular season, the Orioles will have a reason to be optimistic about their starting staff. Chris Tillman is currently out with shoulder inflammation and Jimenez, Wade Miley and Dylan Bundy are currently unknowns. They need someone to step up right now and Ubaldo Jimenez may just be that guy.