Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Colorado Rockies Win A Laugher; Ubaldo Jimenez Proves He Is Back
It would be easy to say that the offense broke out for the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night against the Astros.
The Rockies scored 12 runs, including four home runs, one of them being a grand slam off of the bat of Ian Stewart. It was Stewart's second home run of the night, the other two came off the bats of Todd Helton and Brad Hawpe.
Despite the offensive output, Tuesday night belonged to Ubaldo Jimenez.
Jimenez had an April to forget as he struggled to find his mechanics, and thus the strike zone, in four of his first five starts this season.
In Chicago, Jimenez struggled with his control. Although he battled out of a couple of bases loaded jam, he could not consistently find his fastball and was removed before the fourth inning. Clint Hurdle mentioned that the cold and rainy weather may have been a factor in his lack of control.
The cold may have been an excuse in Chicago, but his next start in Los Angeles was just as much of a struggle for Jimenez. It was another outing in which Jimenez failed to make it to the fifth inning. His next start after that came against the Dodgers again, this time at home. After giving up four runs in the first, the 25 year old settled in, but it was too little, too late.
Jimenez began to turn the corner on the first of May. He was out dueled in San Francisco by Randy Johnson, but showed great poise and the ability to get ground ball outs again. The game was lost because Jimenez's three walks all came around to score, with the final score 3-2.
On Tuesday, Jimenez threw seven innings, giving up one run while striking out four and walking no one. The last stat is the most important one for the young Dominican.
It seems obvious that a lack of walks would help with wins, but what it really shows is that Jimenez is finding the mentality to attack the strike zone. When he believes in his fastball, he is not afraid to throw it into the strike zone and see what a hitter can do with it.
It seems to be a domino effect with Jimenez. If he can ahead in the count, he can then throw the curve ball and slider, which keeps hitters off balance. With a 97 MPH fastball in his arsenal, hitters cannot afford to sit on the off speed pitches.
Jimenez's success is of the utmost importance to the Rockies success in 2009. The offense can feel the confidence to know that every fifth day they have a chance to win when Jimenez is on the hill. Couple that with the continued resurgence of Aaron Cook and the success of Jason Marquis to go along with the Jorge De La Rosa's strong early performance and the Rockies are still in a position to make a move in the division.
If Jimenez continues locating his 97 MPH heater, the Rockies offense will continue its resurgence and make a run in 2009.