O’s game blog: Jiménez on the mound at Cincinnati (O’s win 2-0)

He has pitched just 4 1/3 innings in each of his two starts this season. But after right-hander Kevin Gausman went just 2 2/3 innings last night, the Orioles (8-4) could use a solid outing tonight from right-hander Ubaldo Jiménez (0-0, 10.38 ERA).

Jiménez has given up five runs against both the Yankees and Red Sox to begin the season. Over 8 2/3 innings, he has allowed 15 hits, including three homers, with three walks, six strikeouts and a .385 batting average against.

jimenez-pitching-away-gray-sidebar.jpgIn those two starts, right-handed batters have hit .435 against Jiménez. Another issue has been a .667 batting average (6-for-9) he has allowed to the leadoff hitter of an inning. When pitching with the bases empty, he has allowed eight hits in 15 at-bats (.533). So call me crazy, but I see room for improvement here.

Here is one stat worth noting: In 2016, Jiménez went 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA in four interleague starts. In his last eight interleague starts, he is 5-1 with a 2.89 ERA.

He also has solid career numbers against the Reds, going 3-0 with an ERA of 3.00 and 35 strikeouts over 39 innings. But he has not faced Cincinnati since May 27, 2013, when he pitched for Cleveland and allowed two runs over seven frames.

A 24-year-old lefty, Amir Garrett (2-0, 1.42 ERA) gets the start for Cincinnati (9-5). He has recorded two straight quality starts to begin the year. In 12 2/3 innings, Garrett has permitted seven hits and two runs with two walks and nine strikeouts.

Garrett played college basketball for two seasons at St. John’s. This was after the Reds had drafted and signed him out of the 22nd round in 2011. He is the club’s No. 3 prospect and was the Reds minor league Pitcher of the Year for the past two seasons.

The Orioles’ Manny Machado and Adam Jones have enjoyed success in interleague games during their careers. Machado owns a .314 batting average with 13 home runs and 46 RBIs over 72 career games. Jones is hitting .291 with 29 home runs and 94 RBIs in 164 career interleague games. Shortstop J.J. Hardy owns a .291 batting average with five homers, seven doubles and 21 RBIs over 28 career games at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park.

The Reds’ Joey Votto tonight will make his 1,255th career appearance at first base, tying Ted Kluszewski for the most in franchise history at that position. In the Reds’ win last night, Billy Hamilton snapped an 0-for-14 skid, Adam Duvall an 0-for-13 and José Peraza an 0-for-11. For the year, opposing teams are hitting just .146 with runners in scoring position (15-for-103) against Reds pitching. The Orioles went 2-for-5 last night.

With injuries to two Triple-A third baseman already in Chris Johnson and Alex Castellanos, the Orioles have moved Double-A Bowie third baseman Drew Dosch to Norfolk. Dosch was batting .424 with nine RBIs in nine games with Bowie.

Listen up: Click here to find the second edition for the season of our “Yard Work” podcast.

O’s win in Cincy: One night after the Orioles got their shortest start of the 2017 season, they got their longest one. Last night, Gausman allowed eight runs in 2 2/3 innings. Tonight, Jiménez threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings as the Orioles blanked Cincinnati 2-0 to even this series at a victory each.

Entering this start with an ERA of 10.38 through two outings, Jiménez allowed just two singles with four walks and three strikeouts. He improved to 1-0 with an ERA of 5.51, throwing 108 pitches. Donnie Hart got the last out of the eighth and Brad Brach recorded the save with a 1-2-3 ninth on nine pitches. Garrett fanned 12 in seven innings and took a tough-luck loss.

The Orioles improved to 9-4 overall and to 5-3 on this road trip, which has one game remaining. The O’s last shutout was Sept. 29, 2016 at Toronto and Jiménez was the starter in that game, as well.

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