NEW YORK - Ubaldo Jimenez couldn’t locate his breaking ball today, couldn’t get it down, and the Yankees made him pay.
Jimenez didn’t last through the fifth inning and was charged with four runs and eight hits, with five walks 109 pitches thrown. He’s 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in his first two starts with the Orioles.
“It was all about getting the breaking ball down,” he said. “It was kind of tough to throw inside and especially, I couldn’t find any of them to put away hitters. I was able to get ahead, but I couldn’t put any away with the breaking ball because none of them were working.
“I couldn’t throw my breaking ball for a strike. I had a couple of guys that I got ahead with my fastball. I tried to put them away with a breaking ball, but I couldn’t throw it for a strike. It was all about that. I couldn’t get a breaking ball strike.
“I got ahead of a couple of guys and they (wanted) to find a way to throw the bat out there, find a hole, find a blooper, find this. It’s part of the game. Next time, I’ll get my breaking ball down because my fastball is good.”
Jimenez was especially challenged by the bottom of the Yankees lineup.
“Yeah, definitely,” he said. “I have to find a way to stop those guys from getting on base. Every time they got on base, the top guys swing the bat.”
Jimenez has walked eight batters in 10 2/3 innings.
“I was putting it in my mind that I don’t want to walk anyone, but if I walk anyone, then I have to think about the next hitter,” he said. “I kept thinking, if I walk this guy, I have to get the next guy out.”
This isn’t the impression that Jimenez wanted to make on his new team and its fans.
“I wanted it to go another way,” he said. “I wanted to win for the team. I haven’t been able to do that. I have to keep working and get ready for my next one.”
Nelson Cruz drove in his fifth run of the season and recorded his first two-hit game, but he also was doubled off first base on a fly ball.
“There’s no excuse,” he said. “I made a mistake. I thought the ball was going to drop. I saw the right fielder because it was hit more to right field. But with the wind, I saw the replay and I thought the wind probably took it more to center field long enough for the center fielder to catch. But that’s no excuse.”
Those mistakes come back to haunt a team in a tightly contested game.
“Yeah, no doubt,” Cruz said. “You can’t predict what’s going to happen, but if you have runners on base and he hits a double to bring you home... There’s nothing you can do (now). The game is over, so you have to focus on tomorrow’s game and hopefully that will be the last one all year and we can get it done tomorrow.”
The Orioles have scored three runs or fewer in five of their first seven games. They’ve hit three home runs after leading the majors last season.
“It’s early, but no doubt we’ve kind of struggled to get the runs going,” Cruz said. “I think maybe the other day in Detroit was the only day we were able to put some runs together. It seems like late in the games we get it done, so it’s just a matter of time that we get focused early and get it done early and don’t wait until the last minute to get extra runs.
“Every game it feels like it’s there. Hopefully, tomorrow is the day we bring a bunch of runs like we’re supposed to do.”
Cruz wasn’t the only Oriole to make a mistake on the basepaths. Yankees catcher Brian McCann picked off Jonathan Schoop at second base.
“I got caught,” Schoop said. “I thought it was two strikes. And then I see the guy swing the bat and stop and I saw the guy throw the ball. And when I tried to go back, I slipped.
“Those mistakes cannot happen. There’s no excuse for those mistakes. You cannot control if you’re going to get a base hit, but this mistake you can contro. It’s not going to happen, you know? You’ve got to learn from it.”