Ubaldo Jimenez has been a hot topic of conversation lately with trade rumors swirling around where the Colorado Rockies may send their ace. Jimenez's consistency has also been a hot topic lately – highlighted by a Twitter exchange Tuesday between Buster Olney and David Cameron.
While a glance at Jimenez's ERA would suggest he’s inconsistent, a look at the statistics he can control – strikeout rate and walk rate, primarily – indicates that he’s essentially the same pitcher he’s been all along, with these two measurements staying relatively steady over the past three seasons.
Ubaldo Jimenez, Last 3 Seasons
Against the Atlanta Braves, Jimenez continued his string of solid starts, striking out nine in 6.2 innings to improve to 5-1 in his last seven starts. Jimenez's strikeout total is his second-highest in a game in which he allowed seven or more hits.
On August 15, 2010 he allowed 10 hits and had 10 strikeouts against the Brewers in a 6-5 win. On Tuesday against the Braves, he allowed seven hits and had nine strikeouts.
Elsewhere Around the Diamond:
• Danny Valencia tallied his fourth career walk-off hit to lead the Minnesota Twins to a win over the Cleveland Indians. For the Indians, Justin Masterson (7.2 IP, 0 ER) now has a 1.52 ERA over his last six starts.
Masterson ran with his sinker, tying a season high with 103 sinkers of 104 total pitches. When Masterson kept his sinker down, it was untouchable as the Twins went 0 for 12 with four strikeouts and eight ground-ball outs.
In two games against Masterson this season, the Twins are 1 for 19 (.053) with six strikeouts in at-bats ending with a sinker down. Masterson threw a season high 59 of his 103 sinkers in the strike zone.
The Twins grounded out 14 times in at-bats ending with a pitch in the strike zone. That is Masterson's highest total in a start since the start of the 2009 season.
• The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Cincinnati Reds 1-0, behind a strong performance from starter James McDonald. At 51-44, the Pirates are now seven games over .500 for the first time since April 21, 2002 when the team was 12-5 (and finished the season 72-89). The Pirates have eight shutouts this season, with three coming against the Reds.
Neil Walker was 1 for 3, and now has a 13-game hitting streak. The Pirates posted consecutive shutouts for the first time since April 17-18, 2009, and they have eight shutouts this season after posting six last season.
• The New York Mets defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-2. Carlos Beltran went 2-2 with two doubles and two walks against Kyle Lohse, and is now hitting .564 (22-39) with four home runs and 11 walks off Lohse.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, the .564 mark by Beltran is the second-highest average by any active batter against any active pitcher (minimum 35 at-bats). The top mark is held by Jason Giambi (.622, 23 for 37) against Darren Oliver.