Breaking news: The city of Los Angeles has confirmed a sighting of Colorado Rockies’ pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez on Wednesday, June 1st. The 27 year old Dominican was seen pitching a complete game shutout against the Dodgers. If you are a fan of teams such as but not exclusively the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Arizona Diamondbacks, the San Diego Padres, or the San Francisco Giants, this is your official warning to look out for 98 mph two-seam fastballs, aka the “U-Ball”, and a devastating curveball that leaves you frozen at the plate. Thank you.
It had been far too long since Jimenez has gotten a win. This one was deserved with authority. The Rockies are coming of an awful 8-21 May, the second worse May in franchise history. They dropped to 4th in the NL West standings after starting the month in first place and fell to four games under .500. All after starting the season with a great April.
The Ubaldo Jimenez of 2010 was alive and well on Wednesday night as he blanked the Dodgers, and it was a thing of beauty. He struck out seven, only gave up four hits (all singles), and most importantly walked no one. Another good sign was his velocity. Ubaldo was consistently touching 96 mph with his fastball and his final pitch was clocked at 98 mph, which struck out Matt Kemp to end the game. It is premature to say that he is back, but a complete game shut out is hell of a way to get ‘W’ number one for the season. Believe me, it was exactly what the Rockies needed to start June off right.
What haunted the Rockies all May long was hitting, especially on the road. The Rox are 12th in the NL in road batting average at .235 and have scored 104 runs away from home, also 12th in the NL. They have played poorly not only on the road, but at home as well. Colorado is batting .257 at Coors Field, currently 10th in the NL. On Wednesday, the Rockies scored just 3 runs but drove in their first two runs with a runner at third, something that has not been happening all May. Todd Helton then laid the icing on the game with his 7th home run of the season to put the Rockies up 3-0.
Jimenez returning to form is great, but the offense has to get going if the Rockies have any shot at the playoffs. It doesn’t appear that it will take much to win the NL West this year with the season ending injury to San Francisco’s catcher, Buster Posey. A hot June is very possible for the Rockies because they have done it before. In 2009, the Rockies won over 20 games in June, including a 12 game winning streak during that stretch. April and May have historically been sub-par for the Rox, but have recently been great in June. We’ll see if this June can be just as great.