Through three innings of tonight’s game against the White Sox, Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez has not issued a walk.
Through three innings, Jimenez has thrown 29 of his 38 pitches for strikes. He’s stayed in control.
The Orioles hope it lasts.
Jimenez issued six walks in 5 2/3 innings in Friday night’s start against the Yankees, and the Orioles were forced to make a roster move after the game, optioning Kevin Gausman and bringing up Brad Brad to aid the bullpen.
In his last three outings, Jimenez had walked 16 batters over 14 innings while losing twice and getting a no-decision.
Jimenez retired the White Sox in order in the first inning tonight, striking out Adam Eaton looking and Conor Gillaspie swinging. He needed only nine pitches to get back into the dugout.
Adam Dunn doubled with one out in the second - only his sixth hit in 33 career at-bats against Jimenez - but he inexplicably drifted off second base on Alexei Ramirez’s grounder to shortstop J.J. Hardy, who casually threw behind him to get the out.
Dunn has been in the league for only 14 years. He’ll learn.
Dayan Viciedo followed with a single - he’s 8-for-19 against Jimenez - but Alejandro De Aza grounded out. Jimenez had thrown 21 of his 26 pitches for strikes through the second.
Jimenez struck out Tyler Flowers looking to open the third. Eaton singled, Gordon Beckham struck out looking and Gillaspie flied to right.
Three hits, four strikeouts and zero walks.
So far, so good.
Nelson Cruz came within inches of hitting his 24th home run in the bottom of the second inning, but De Aza made the catch against the left field fence.
T.J. McFarland isn’t available tonight after throwing two innings yesterday, but I’ll mention that his 0.61 ERA in June ranks fourth in the majors (minimum 10 innings).
Update: Rookie Jose Abreu led off the top of the fourth with his 23rd home run, tying Nelson Cruz for second in the majors and giving Chicago a 1-0 lead.
Abreu jumped on Jimenez’s first pitch, an 83 mph splitter.
Jimenez retired the next three batters, striking out two. He’s allowed one run and four hits in four innings, with no walks and six strikeouts. He’s thrown 54 pitches, 39 for strikes.
Update II: Jimenez issued his first walk, to De Aza leading off the third, and it cost him. Eaton tripled with one out to give the White Sox a 2-0 lead.
Jimenez has thrown 75 pitches, 50 strikes, in five innings.