Ubaldo Jimenez has had a pretty rough start to the season, but he showed last night why the Orioles were willing to give him a four-year, $50 million contract over the winter. In addition to tossing 7 1/3 scoreless innings in a 3-0 victory over the Twins, he struck out a season-high 10 batters. It was his first win with Baltimore.
One of the most encouraging signs of all for Jimenez was that he only issued one walk. The veteran right-hander had allowed 17 free passes in 27 1/3 innings coming into Friday’s outing. He still owns an ugly 5.19 ERA for the year, but it was a step in the right direction.
As for Nelson Cruz, the Orioles’ other big offseason acquisition, he just keeps on rolling. He blasted a two-run homer off Ricky Nolasco last night and is now batting .297/.377/.594 with eight home runs and 27 RBI through 26 games.
With the Yankees’ loss last night, the Orioles currently sit in first-place in the American League East at 15-12.
Your Friday box scores:
Orioles 3, Twins 0
White Sox 5, Indians 12
Cardinals 5, Cubs 6
Rays 10, Yankees 5 (14 innings)
Mets 3, Rockies 10
Nationals 5, Phillies 3
Athletics 1, Red Sox 7
Blue Jays 5, Pirates 6
Tigers 8, Royals 2
Brewers 2, Reds 0
Mariners 4, Astros 5 (11 innings)
Dodgers 3, Marlins 6
Rangers 5, Angels 2
Giants 2, Braves 1
Diamondbacks 2, Padres 0
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.