Baltimore Orioles: Ubaldo Jimenez at his best in September

Odds are that yesterday’s win was too little too late for the Baltimore Orioles to end up in the post season. However as much as Ubaldo Jimenez has been maligned over his four years with the O’s, he was always at his best in September. Yesterday was no exception. Jimenez’s line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 10 K.

Jimenez of course started (and got the win) in the 2014 AL East-clinching game. He was also the Orioles’ best pitcher for the last five weeks of the season last year, which in essence put the Orioles in the playoffs. So yes while there were times when he looked lost out on the mound (which unfortunately is what most fans are going to remember about him), he generally rose to the occasion late in the season when the pressure was on.

Austin Hays continued his baptism into the major leagues with an RBI-single in the second inning, giving the Birds a 1-0 lead. However it wasn’t long before NY tied it – in the bottom of that second inning on a solo homer by Gregorius. But going back to Hays for a moment, it’ll be interesting to see how things play out with him next year. He seems to be following the path the Orioles took last year with Mancini in that he was a September call-up, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he gets a long look in spring training next year. Does he make the team? Time will tell, but the early returns are positive.

The O’s got the lead back in the fourth inning on Tim Beckham‘s three-run homer. And speaking of the future, the Orioles may have very quietly found their new shortstop in Beckham. It’s a shame that it comes at the expense of a guy like Hardy, however he’d be the first one to tell you that his body is starting to wear down. Needless to say, it’ll be an interesting off season for him (Hardy).

The Orioles would tack on one more, but New York would also threaten before the game was over. Holliday’s RBI-double in the sixth cut the lead to 6-3, and the semblance of a New York-comeback was in the air. But for the most part the Birds shut them down. Castro would add a sac fly-RBI, however New York never got closer than 6-4. And the O’s went home salvaging one game of four in this series.

It goes without saying that Ubaldo Jimenez is probably in the waning days of his tenure with the Orioles. However if that’s true at the very least he’s finishing strong. I always remind people that when the Orioles signed him, all of the experts both locally and nationally thought it was a great move and a great deal with the O’s. Certainly it didn’t work out the way anyone thought it would. But needless to say, when the Orioles needed a clutch win late in the year, Jimenez generally came through.

The Birds will open the final home stand of the season tonight at Camden Yards when Boston comes to town. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Doug Fister. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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