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What a difference a year makes. At this point in 2010, Ubaldo Jimenez was 8-1 with an ERA under 1.00, and he did everything but win the Cy Young Award in two months. As the rest of the season played itself out though, those numbers came back to earth to the point where Roy Halladay actually became an easier pick than Jimenez for the Cy Young. In fact, Jimenez’s second half was very ordinary last year. He was 4-7 and had an ERA of 3.80 – just 0.22 better than the National League average. His star had certainly fallen since the start of the 2010 season, but going into this year, he was still considered a top ten pitcher by most accounts.

Now he is 0-4. The year started with a sputter when he hurt his thumb in the Rockies opener. Jimenez missed the equivalent of three starts and struggled upon his return. In the first three starts back from injury he couldn’t go past 5 innings. Today he pitched a season long 8 innings, but it was not 100% encouraging. Jimenez walked 5 and only struck out 4. It was the fifth time in his last six starts that he allowed at least 4 walks. Jimenez has always had difficulties with walks, but he’s always been able to compensate for that problem because of his ability to get strikeouts too. That’s not the case this season. His strikeout to walk rate is 1.46. The major league average is 2.27 this season.

The swings and misses are not piling up for Jimenez because his velocity is down more than 3 MPH on average. If there’s one thing that has always made Jimenez an ace it is his velocity. He’s led the league with his average velocity three straight years, but so far this year he’s tied for 14th. The 3 MPH dip is a big part of the reason that his runs above average on the fast ball has gone from 30 to -4.7 in two seasons. The last two starts have been better, but it is abundantly clear that Jimenez is not a top ten starter.

  • Asdrubal Cabrera had the line of the day. He was 5 for 5 with two home runs and a steal for the team that has become the best story in the season’s first two months. Thanks to this game, Cabrera is now on pace for 118 R 33 HR 118 RBI and 22 steals. Given the health of Grady Sizemore and the lack of production from Shin-Soo Choo, I’d take Cabrera as the Most Valuable Player at the quarter point (Jose Bautista is the best, but his team isn’t winning as much).
  • Andre Ethier ran into the right field fence in Chicago and had to leave the game early for the Dodgers. Let’s blame it on interleague play baseball purists!
  • Speaking of interleague play, Bobby Valentine suggested that the pitcher should hit in AL parks during interleague play and the DH should hit in NL parks so the fans can see something different. I like the idea and it’s so simple.
  • Mike Scioscia is optimistic that Howie Kendrick will be able to play at the beginning of next week. Of course this is the same manager that said Kendry Morales would be in the lineup on Opening Day five weeks prior to the start of the season.
  • Buster Posey is hitting a home run about once every 38 at-bats and a double once every 31 at-bats. Last year he hit a home run once every 23 at-bats and a double once every 18 at-bats.
  • After a pessimistic report yesterday from Fredi Gonzalez, sure enough the Braves placed Jason Heyward on the 15 day DL. The Braves are also having Mike Minor start for Tim Hudson on Wednesday.
  • David Wright will see a specialist in L.A. for his ailing back.
  • Adam LaRoche has had a slightly torn labrum in his shoulder since Spring Training and it has showed in his numbers (although slow starts are nothing new for him). He is going to see another doctor on the issue and it sounds like he is heading to the DL.
  • Felix Hernandez had 13 strikeouts and 0 walks today against the Padres. The Padres struck out 31 times and drew just three walks against King Felix, Erik Bedard, and Michael Pineda this weekend.
  • Brian Roberts will not be ready to come off the DL when he is eligible.
  • Chase Utley will be activated on Monday. Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton are going to be activated by the Rangers.
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