Any hope Indians fans had of Ubaldo Jimenez turning things around following a brutal 2012 season has already vanished, as Jimenez has been even worse so far this year.
He’s coughed up seven runs in each of his last two starts and failed to make it out of the second inning yesterday against the Red Sox, walking five of the 12 batters he faced. Jimenez now has a 5.60 ERA in 45 starts for the Indians dating back to mid-2011, when they acquired him from the Rockies.
Jimenez insisted after yesterday’s clunker that he’s not hurt, saying: “I felt really good,. I felt strong. The velocity was there. I just couldn’t control it in that inning.” His average fastball clocked in at 93.5 miles per hour, which was up from his previous two starts this season, but that’s still a far cry from his average of 96.1 miles per hour in 2009 and 2010.
The story of the Indians postseason cannot be told without talking about injuries to starting pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. They have forced Terry Francona to lean even harder on his bullpen than he otherwise may have and have cause the Indians to press rookie Ryan Merritt into service.
But Cleveland will be getting at least one of their starters back: Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway that Danny Salazar will be part of the World Series roster.
Salazar has not pitched since early September due to a strained right flexor muscle, but according to Callaway, Salazar is ready to throw 65-70 pitches in a game. That could mean a start, probably in Game 4 after Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Merritt was a possible Game 4 starter, but he could either pair up with Salazar in a tandem start or serve in long relief.
Cubs’ left fielder Kyle Schwarber missed virtually the entire 2016 season due to torn knee ligaments, but he has been working his way back to health more quickly than initially expected. Indeed, he has been playing for the Cubs in the Arizona Fall League, serving as a DH. Many have speculated that the Cubs will activate him for the World Series.
Today, at his World Series media session, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said that reports from Arizona are good on Schwarber and that the he will fly to Cleveland to join the team after tonight’s game in Arizona. Maddon says the team will make a decision on activating him once he arrives. The Cubs have until tomorrow morning to set their World Series roster.
Our guess is that Schwarber will get the call and will serve as the DH for the Cubs in Games 1, 2 and, if necessary, 6 and 7 in Cleveland. If so, a lost season could very quickly turn into a storybook season for the Cubs’ young slugger.