O’s game blog: Can Ubaldo Jimenez turn it around against the Twins?

The Orioles play a makeup game at Minnesota tonight for the postponement there on May 9. They play at Target Field tonight in the final game of the season series between the teams before they head to Toronto for a big American League East weekend series starting Friday.

Tonight, we find out if Ubaldo Jimenez (5-9, 7.38 ERA) can beat the odds and pitch well in this game. He has not pitched since July 8, recently left the club to be on paternity leave and has struggled badly most of the year. Can he turn all of that around and surprise people tonight?

jimenez-stride-pitching-gray-sidebar.jpgJimenez gave up five runs in 1 1/3 innings in his last start on July 8 against the Angels. He has allowed 11 hits and 11 runs in 5 2/3 innings over his past two starts. Both left- (.345) and right-handed hitters (.302) are batting over .300 against him.

Jimenez has given up five runs or more in four of his past six and in nine of his past 12 starts. In seven road starts, he is 1-6 with an ERA of 9.00. But Jimenez has pitched well in his career against the Twins. He is 5-3 with a 2.55 ERA in 10 career appearances (nine starts). In six career starts at Target Field, he is 4-1 with a 1.82 ERA. In his last three starts versus the Twins, he is 2-0 with an ERA of 0.47.

His mound opponent is right-hander Kyle Gibson (3-6, 4.67 ERA), who will be making his 13th start. In his last outing, he pitched a gem against Boston, allowing two hits and one run over eight innings. In four July starts, he is 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA. In four career starts versus Baltimore, he is 1-1 with a 3.74 ERA.

The Orioles are looking to get some offense going tonight. They scored just seven runs on 17 hits in three games against Colorado, going 2-for-20 with runners in scoring position.

Since the All-Star break, the Orioles rank last in the AL in runs scored (36), batting average (.211) and OPS (.602). They have gone 7-6 in 13 games in the second half.

The Orioles have hit well in going 5-0 this season versus Minnesota. They have outscored the Twins 25-11 in the season series with a team average of .322 and nine homers. While Chris Davis has gone 1-for-27 recently, he is batting .429 (9-for-21) this year versus Twins pitching with two homers, five RBIs and a 1.335 OPS. Adam Jones is 8-for-20 with two homers and seven RBIs and Manny Machado is 8-for-21 with two homers and three RBIs against Minnesota.

After going 0-7 against the Twins last season, a win tonight would make them 6-0 for the season series in 2016. The Orioles are 19-6 against teams from the AL Central, including a mark of 5-3 on the road.

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