The Cleveland Indians made arguably the biggest pre-deadline
splash when they traded for Ubaldo Jimenez last weekend.
The right-hander now looks to keep Cleveland afloat as it
continues its push for the AL Central crown.
Jimenez makes his Indians debut opposite the Texas Rangers’
Derek Holland, who tries for a fifth consecutive winning decision
when the teams open a three-game set Friday night in Arlington.
With the playoffs looking like a realistic possibility, the
Indians (55-54) hope they significantly increased their chances of
making their first postseason appearance in four years by acquiring
Jimenez from Colorado in exchange for four minor leaguers on
“When I heard, I got really excited, especially the way they’ve
been playing,” he told the Indians’ website. “They’re only three
games behind (Detroit in the division). They already know how to
win, it’s not a secret. They know … they’re not where they are
because of a fluke.”
While Jimenez is excited about joining his new team, he likely
wasn’t too pleased with the statistics he posted this year with the
Rockies. The Dominican Republic native went 6-9 with a 4.46 ERA in
21 starts, lackluster numbers that could be partly attributed to a
drop in velocity.
Jimenez’s fastball has been clocked at around 94 mph this season
after he averaged 96 mph over the last four years. He went 19-8
with a 2.88 ERA last season.
“The Indians got me because they think good about me,” Jimenez
said. “That’s going to make me work harder every single day,
because I know they’re expecting good things from me, and I’m going
to do everything possible to help them win.”
After losing two of the first three at Boston, Cleveland
prevailed 7-3 on Thursday behind a strong effort from Justin
Masterson along with three hits apiece from Travis Hafner, Kosuke
Fukudome and Carlos Santana, who had a two-run homer.
The win kept the Indians from dropping below .500 for the first
time since they were 1-2.
“I’m sure (Jimenez) has a lot of other things on his mind as
he’s going to go out there, being a part of a new team, but
hopefully that may ease a little bit for him,” Masterson said. “I
know he’s going to go out and pitch his game and I think we’ll like
what we’re going to see.”
Jimenez will try to outduel Holland (10-4, 4.14 ERA), who’s
thrown three shutouts in his last five starts, going 4-0 with a
1.64 ERA over that span. Most recently, Holland recorded a
four-hitter in a 3-0 win at Toronto on Saturday.
“I just have to continue to take it one pitch at a time, show no
fear and go after hitters,” Holland told the Rangers’ official
website. “My defense will make the plays. I give them all the
credit for the success I’ve had.”
The left-hander posted similar results in his only career
appearance against the Indians on June 4, surrendering five hits
and a walk in what was the first of his AL-high four shutouts
during a 4-0 win at Cleveland.
C.J. Wilson and two relievers blanked the Indians the next day,
extending Cleveland’s scoreless streak in the series to 18 innings.
Texas has taken six straight and 13 of 15 from the Indians.
Holland had compiled a 6.80 ERA over his first nine home starts
before throwing a combined 15 innings without allowing an earned
run during his two most recent outings there.
He’ll look to continue his recent dominance as Texas (62-50)
returns from a 2-4 road trip – capped by Thursday’s 5-2 win at
Detroit, which preserved the Rangers’ one-game lead over the Los
Angeles Angels in the AL West.
Josh Hamilton, who went 2 for 5 on Thursday, has gone 11 for 26
with three homers and eight RBIs during a six-game hitting streak