Colorado Rockies Countdown: Top Five Right-Handed Pitchers
1. Ubaldo Jimenez (2006-2011, 18.6 bWAR)
Ubaldo Jimenez holds several significant places in Colorado Rockies history … some better than others. For instance, Ubaldo has a Rockies career ERA of 3.66 which is good enough for the best in the club history. Jimenez is also tied for the most shutouts in club history with three.
Jimenez’s finest moment as with the Rockies came on April 17, 2010. Facing off against the Braves in Atlanta, Jimenez became the first Rockie to ever pitch a no-hitter. On that night, Jimenez struck out seven Braves and frequently touched 100 MPH on his fastball. Jimenez would go on to have the greatest individual pitching season in Rockies history that year, setting single-season records for most wins (19) and most strikeouts (210). Jimenez would also become the first Rockies pitcher to ever start an All-Star Game. Jimenez finished in third for the National League Cy Young award in 2010.
The wheels came off for Jimenez after that spectacular 2010 season. In 21 games started for the Rockies in 2011, Ubaldo’s ERA ballooned to 4.46. Control became an apparent problem for the fire-baller. On top of the control issues, Ubaldo’s relationship with the Rockies front office deteriorated at a rapid pace as he wasn’t signed to an extension to the likes of Tulo and Carlos Gonzalez. The Rockies ended up trading off the disgruntled Jimenez.
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After Jimenez landed elsewhere, a war of words took place between Tulo and Jimenez. Jimenez voiced what he saw as unfair treatment from Colorado. Tulowitzki rebutted that Jimenez wanted out. Whatever the case may be, the war of words came to fruition during a Spring Training game that saw Jimenez start against his old club. Jimenez would hit, and then charge Tulowitzki in his first at-bat. It was a rarity for a Spring Training game to say the least. Karma came around to Jimenez as he would go on to lead the league in losses (17) and wild pitches (16) that coming season.
Since his ugly departure from Colorado, Jimenez has been inconsistent at best with an ERA well over 4.00 in six seasons outside Denver. He is currently holding down a middle of the rotation spot for the Baltimore Orioles. When it is all said and done, Jimenez was the Rockies greatest and most notorious Rockies pitcher.
Next: Honorable Mention