Monday, September 6, 2010

Ubaldo Jimenez sets Colorado Rockies record with 18 wins

It wasn't pretty, but it worked.

The fifth time was the charm for Ubaldo Jimenez. The right hander picked up his 18th win of the season, a new Rockies record, as he was just good enough to pick up the win in another crucial game for the Rockies, this time coming against the team with the best record in the National League, the Cincinnati Reds. The Rockies overcame a 4-0 deficit to win 10-5.

Jimenez labored through six innings, wiggling out of a bases loaded jam in both the 5th and 6th innings and giving up four runs in the 3rd inning.

The game, however, represented the tables being turned for once with Jimenez. In his five previous starts, Jimenez has received a total of eight runs of support. On Monday, Jimenez didn't have his best stuff, but his offense finally decided to pull its weight.

After giving up four runs in the 4th inning, the Rockies offense immediately came back and scored four runs of their own to tie the game. In the bottom of the bottom of the 5th, Troy Tulowitzki hit a long home run to deep left field that put the Dominican right hander in line for the win.

Jimenez may not win the Cy Young award. After being a shoe-in back in May, he had four bad starts and then was the victim of a lack of run support. On the last day of May he picked up his 10th win. It has taken him until the beginning of September to pick up eight more.

Regardless of awards, the 2010 season by Ubaldo Jimenez is something that no Rockies fan ever thought that they would see. Coors Field has long been known as the greatest hitters park in baseball. Essentially, any pitcher with an ERA in the 4.00's who had started half of their games at Coors had a great season.

Before Jimenez, just one starting pitcher had posted an ERA under 4.00, that was the late Joe Kennedy, when he posted a 3.66 ERA in 27 starts in 2004.

While individual accomplishments are something that Jimenez will cherish, the right hander has made it very clear on several occasions that he is far more interested in winning the World Series then picking up the win for himself. The Rockies got a step closer to that on Monday.

With the Giants winning and the Padres leading the Dodgers late, the Rockies look like they will be staying within 4-1/2 games of the lead in the National League West. The lead is still significant, but there is only one thing that the Rockies can do to stay in the race.

The Rockies need both the Giants and the Padres to lose for them to have any chance at overcoming their deficit. However, the most important part of the postseason formula that the Rockies can pay attention to at this point is what they can do themselves. That is easy...simply win. Keep winning and don't worry about the Padres or Giants. If the Rockies are able to win 90 games, they should be good enough to be in the playoffs.

To win 90, the Rockies will have to go 17-9 the rest of the way. That will not be an easy task to accomplish, but the Rockies are showing once again that they cannot be counted out down the stretch.

For more on the Rockies visit RockiesReview.com

This article is also featured on INDenverTimes.com

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