Jimenez doesn’t get out of second inning

CLEVELAND — Ubaldo Jimenez remains a mystery.

That’s the ongoing issue that came out of the Indians 7-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday.

Jimenez had the second-shortest outing of his career, and for the second game in a row gave up seven runs. Against Boston he gave up seven in less than two innings, after walking five Boston hitters in the second.

And Jimenez and manager Terry Francona both said Jimenez threw the ball better than he did in his last start on April 8, when he gave up seven runs in four and one-third innings.

Good grief.

In his last two starts, Jimenez has lasted six innings and given up 14 runs.

His ERA in those games: 21.00.

Those are just two games, but those are some alarming numbers.

Jimenez knows it.

“The last two games have been really bad,” he said.

It’s much more than two games, though. In his last 17 starts dating back to July of 2012, Jimenez has gone 1-12 with a 7.27 ERA, according to MLB.com.

“You can be frustrated or you can try to make it better,” Francona said. “I think we choose to try to make it better. As long as he keeps working, we’re going to work hard. And we want to get it right.”

The Indians put a lot of time into trying to help Jimenez between the last two starts. They had him throw twice and worked extensively with his mechanics in an effort, Francona said, to get him to throw “downhill.”

That included two bullpen sides, and eight days between starts.

He got through one inning, then blew up in the second.

“That’s a frustrating way to play for everybody,” Francona said.

It’s still April, but at some point a team has to make a decision on a guy. At some point, it stops being “too early” to ask what the Indians might do with Jimenez. 

Jimenez said he had something against Boston, whereas against Toronto he had nothing. Which sort of sounds like being happy the dog only ate eight ounces of the nine-ounce steak.

Jimenez walked five guys, and between him and reliever Cody Allen the Indians gave up two doubles to Mike Napoli in the same inning.

“First inning, he went out,  he was crisp and down,” Francona said. “The second inning, he just didn’t throw strikes.”

“The last (start) before this one I didn’t feel like I had anything,” Jimenez said. “The fastball wasn’t there. But this start I just felt too good. I just couldn’t control it.”

Jimenez was asked if this might be rock bottom.

“I don’t want to keep going down,” he said. “That’s pretty much as low as I can get. Five walks in one inning. It’s crazy.”

–Francona raved about his bullpen, which pitched very well. Allen gave up Napoli’s bases-loaded double after relieving Jimenez in the second, but all runs were charged to Jimenez. Allen was credited with three scoreless innings, Nick Hagadone two, Rich Hill one and Brian Shaw one. The four combined to strike out 15 in seven and one-third innings. “Phenomenal,” Francona said.

–Shaw has caught the manager’s eye. He continually calls him “electric.” Shaw struck out all four hitters he faced. Allen had six strikeouts in three innings.

–Odd as it sounds in a 7-2 loss — Cleveland trailed 7-0 before hitting in the second — the Indians had chances to get back in the game, in large part thanks to the bullpen. The Indians had first and third in the second with one out and scored once. They had the bases loaded with one out in the fifth and Carlos Santana struck out. A passed ball scored  a run, and when Nick Swisher walked Mark Reynolds had a chance to close the gap. But he popped out to second. “We just couldn’t get the big hit when we needed it,” Francona said. The Indians left nine on base.

–The Indians reported that this was the first time they had 16 strikeouts and nine walks in a game since 1936.