One year ago today, Colorado Rockies then-ace pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez threw a complete game shutout against the San Francisco Giants, improving his season record to 10-1. He struck out nine in the Memorial Day contest and his offense supported him with four runs.
Through 11 starts in 2010, Jimenez not only had a 10-1 record, but also a miniscule ERA of 0.78 and 70 strikeouts. And, well, he may have had the best pitch ever thrown.
Where have you gone, Ubaldo Jimenez? We want to turn our lonely eyes to you and watch those backdoor fastballs freeze hitters all day long.
Through nine starts in 2011, Jimenez is 0-5 with a 5.86 ERA. The strikeouts are still coming (45 in 50.2 innings), but the velocity isn't there and he's having trouble with the strike zone (30 walks). Can anyone explain this? As Rockies pitching coach Bob Apodaca told the Denver Post's Dave Krieger recently he doesn't know what caused this.
A number of nagging injuries? Expected but surpassed regression? Beautiful but erratic talent? The answers out there, but can it be found?
It's June soon and the days will start heating up. It's best if Ubaldo does, too.