Monday Morning Shortstop: Ubaldo The-Not-So-Great


Ubaldo Jimenez was the best pitcher in baseball in the first half of last year’s baseball season. Many deemed him “Ubaldo The Great,” for his microscopic early season ERA and the fact that he was virtually un-hittable.

This season, however, he has been “Ubaldo The-Not-So-Great,” for his gargantuan ERA, and the fact that he has been very hittable.

Let us compare Ubaldo 2010 to Ubaldo 2011, because the contrast is rather stark.

Ubaldo’s ERA after 3 games in 2010 was a dental-floss thin 1.29. Ubaldo’s ERA this year is an eye-opening 6.75, the worst earned run average for any starting pitcher on the Rockies (tied with Esmil Rogers.) Ubaldo finished with a 2.88 ERA in 2010, and at no point in the season was his ERA above 3.01. He had already doubled that total after his first start.

Ubaldo has given up 3 home runs so far this year. Three games into last year, Ubaldo had not relinquished one big bomb. Ubaldo did not give up a home run until May 15th, 2010, which was his 8th start. He only gave up 10 home runs all season, and he started 33 games. That is 0.3 home runs per game, much better than this season’s ratio, where he is giving up 1 home run for each appearance.

Ubaldo 2010 had 20 strikeouts in his first 3 games. This year, he has 14 punch-outs. Respectable, but not as productive as last season. Last year, Ubaldo was absolutely befuddling hitters. This year, it is Ubaldo’s ineffectiveness that is befuddling.

Ubaldo 2010 was a game-winning machine. In his first 16 starts, the Rockies won 15 games. In Ubaldo’s 3 starts this year, the Rox have 3 losses. Ubaldo recorded a loss right off the bat this season. Ubaldo didn’t pick up a loss until his 7th start in 2010, in a game in which he only gave up 2 runs, and the Rockies did not provide him with any run support. He didn’t get his second loss until his 17th start, which was his first bad appearance of the 2010 campaign.

Ubaldo 2011 gave up 5 earned runs in his first start, 4 in his second, and 3 in his third. Ubaldo 2010 did not give up 3 earned runs in a game he started until mid-June, which was his 13th start. To not give up 3 earned runs until his 13th start is truly remarkable, and a distinct reflection of Ubaldo’s dominance in 2010. Ubaldo 2011 lasted 6 innings in his first start, and only 5 innings in his last two. Ubaldo 2010 lasted 6 innings or more in his first 14 starts, and lasted 7 innings or more in 10 of his first 14 starts. His stamina is not the same in 2011.

In baseball, numbers rarely lie, and so far Ubaldo’s pitching statistics are not up to his expectations.

So that’s the bad news – Ubaldo sucks so far.

Guess what the good news is? The Rockies don’t. In fact, despite the Rockies big gun shooting blanks, the Rockies are still off to a great start.

Even with yesterday’s loss, the Rockies are 14 and 7, first in the NL West. Twenty-one games into last year, they were 11 -10, with Ubaldo responsible for 3 of those victories. This year, out of the Rockies 14 w’s, Ubaldo has yet to record a win.

Last season, Ubaldo put the Rockies on his back. This year, the Rockies are carrying him.

-Zach Cohn