At the 2011 trade deadline, the Cleveland Indians decided their best way forward was not with first-round pitchers Drew Pomeranz and Alex White. With they, they decided to look to Colorado, where Ubaldo Jimenez had gotten off to a blistering start, winning 11 of 12 decisions to start the year.
Once he arrived in Cleveland, though, Indians fans spent two years wondering if they’d get either Good Ubaldo or Bad Ubaldo (also know as Ugh-Baldo, Eww-Baldo or other creative, less complimentary monikers). 2012 was the low point, where Bad Ubaldo showed up a lot; 17 times, in fact.
The start of 2013 looked like things were going about the same way. Fans were getting restless. Even with the arrival of new pitching coach Mickey Callaway to help fix his mechanics, Jimenez’s starts weren’t setting the world on fire.
But a funny thing happened after the All-Star Break: Ubaldo Jimenez, at least the one the Indians traded for in 2011, happened to show up.
The proof is in the statistics. Jimenez has, including his last outing against the Twins, is sporting a 1.71 ERA, a considerable drop from his 4.56 prior to the break. And in the month of September, he was undefeated, notching wins in all of his starts. It’s clear that his work with Callaway has finally paid off.
Going into the post-season, opposing teams are most likely afraid to see if they’ll have to face Jimenez, a vast departure from the situation even in the early part of the year. And this, of course, is what the Tribe was looking for two years ago when they acquired him.