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Ubaldo Jiménez (born January 22, 1984, in Nagua, Dominican Republic),  is a Major League Baseball starting pitcher for the Cleveland Indians. He pitched the first no-hitter in the franchise's history on April 17, 2010, against the Atlanta Braves.
Jiménez made his Major League Baseball debut on September 26, 2006. He came in as a relief pitcher for the Colorado Rockies during the eighth inning of an 11-4 home loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He allowed two hits and no runs. He would make his first major league start on October 1 against the Chicago Cubs on the road, which was the last game of the regular season. Jiménez allowed three hits and three earned runs over a span of 6 ⅔ innings in a 8-5 loss. He didn't receive a decision for the game.
Jiménez earned his first major league win on July 29 at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He pitched six innings, giving up four hits and two earned runs. The Rockies won the game, 9-6. Jiménez made his Major League Baseball postseason debut on October 6 during Game 3 of the 2007 National League Division Series in Colorado against the Philadelphia Phillies. He started the game and pitched six innings, allowing three hits and one earned run, as part of a 2-1 victory (the win gave the Rockies a series sweep over the Phillies). However, Jiménez didn't receive a decision for the game. He started his second consecutive game of the postseason on October 12, which was Game 2 of the 2007 National League Championship Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on the road. He pitched five innings, giving up one hit and one earned run. The Rockies would eventually win the game, 3-2, but Jiménez received his second straight postseason no-decision. Colorado swept Arizona and faced the Boston Red Sox in the 2007 World Series. Jiménez started Game 2, suffering a 2-1 loss in Boston. He allowed three hits and two earned runs in 4 ⅔ innings. Boston went on to sweep Colorado.
During the 2008 offseason, Jiménez signed a four-year, $10-million dollar contract with a club option up to 2013-14. In the 2009 season, he went 15-12 with a 3.47 ERA, his second full season as a starter in the majors. Jiménez pitched at least six innings in a franchise-record 25 consecutive starts from May 1 - September 7.
Jiménez pitched for the Dominican Republic during the 2009 World Baseball Classic. On March 10, he set a single-start strikeout record, fanning 10 of the 13 batters he faced during his 65-pitch, four-inning performance in Round One against the Netherlands.
Jiménez threw the first no-hitter in the history of the Colorado Rockies on April 17, 2010, as part of a 4-0 road victory over the Atlanta Braves. He walked 6 batters, while striking out 7, and throwing a career-high 128 pitches (72 for strikes). He faced 31 batters in the game. The no-hitter was preserved by a diving catch in center field by Dexter Fowler in the bottom of the seventh inning. Jiménez's fastball reached 100 mph three times during the game, and it averaged 96.8 mph. During the no-hitter, Jiménez switched from the windup to the stretch delivery after issuing a lead-off walk in the fifth inning (his sixth total walk of the game). Following the switch, he didn't allow a walk for the remainder of the game.
Jiménez was named the National League Pitcher of the Month for April, becoming the second pitcher in Rockies history to win a Pitcher of the Month award. Jiménez was only the second pitcher in MLB history to throw a no-hitter and notch five wins in the month of April. He also set a franchise record for consecutive scoreless innings (22 ⅓) for a starting pitcher (the streak was eventually snapped on May 3 after 25 ⅓ straight scoreless innings). He broke that mark shortly thereafter, as he went 33 straight scoreless innings from May to June, which was a franchise record for not only starting pitchers, but relievers as well (Gabe White previously held the team record of 29 consecutive scoreless innings). Jiménez became the first pitcher since Jack Morris in 1986 to have two streaks of at least 25 consecutive scoreless innings in one season. He was again named National League Pitcher of the Month for May. He became the first pitcher in Rockies history to win the award more than once and the first pitcher since Pedro Martínez in 1999 to win the award in April and May.
Jiménez was the third pitcher in MLB history to win 11 out of his first 12 games and have an ERA below 1.00 (0.93). He had the lowest ERA (0.78) in MLB history through 11 starts. In his one loss, he went seven innings, giving up two hits and one earned run in a 2-0 road loss against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He currently leads the league in wins with 18 (as of September 7) and is the early front runner for the National League Cy Young Award.
On July 4, 2010, Jiménez was one of two Rockies, along with shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, selected as a National League All-Star to play in the 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Anaheim, CA. He entered the game leading all Major League pitchers with a 15-1 record and a 2.20 ERA (as of July 8th). On July 12, 2010, Jiménez was named the starting pitcher for the National League All-Star team ahead of fellow NL aces Tim Lincecum, Roy Halladay, and Adam Wainwright. In two scoreless innings he threw 25 pitches with two hits, one strikeout, one walk, and 3 baserunners. 2010 was the NL's first All-Star win since 1996 and Jiménez's first All-Star selection.
Jiménez's four-seam fastball, nicknamed the "U-Ball", is frequently clocked as high as 100 mph, sometimes touching 101 mph, though his average four-seam fastball will typically register between 95-99 mph. Jiménez attains such velocity so frequently, in fact, that he is generally the hardest-throwing starting pitcher in baseball, having averaged a Major League best 96.1 mph during the 2009 season. Additionally, no one threw more pitches over 95 mph (1,342) than did Jiménez during the 2008 season.
Jiménez's two-seam fastball exhibits strong "tailing" action (moving inside on a right-handed batter and away from a left-handed batter), as well as good "sinking" action, though not always by design. Velocity ranges from 93-95 mph, though sometimes reaching 96-98 mph. In 2008, Jiménez posted a very robust ground-ball percentage of 54.4%, a testament to this pitch's effectiveness and making him an ideal pitcher for Coors Field, a ballpark known for extra-base hits.
The changeup thrown by Jiménez also exhibits strong "sinking" action, so much so that television commentators unfamiliar with Jiménez often have trouble distinguishing his change-up from a sinking fastball or a split-finger fastball. Jiménez varies the pitch by using both a circle changeup and traditional straight changeup grip. Typically thrown between 85-90 mph, the pitch will dive down and away from left-handed batters.
Jiménez's slider is usually thrown between 85-87 mph while reaching as high as 88-90 mph on occasion. This pitch fools batters with an unusually sharp, late break and is used second most in frequency behind his four-seam fastball. Batters often confuse this pitch with a fastball (the major league average for a fastball is approximately 91 mph) and due to the tight, late-breaking movement of the pitch, are often unable to hit it.
The final pitch in Jiménez's arsenal is a looping curveball. Used infrequently, it is thrown anywhere between 75-85 mph and exhibits a traditional "12-6" break.
Honors and awardsEdit
- National League All-Star starting roster in the 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
- 2× National League Pitcher of the Month (April - May 2010)
- No. 24 of Baseball's Best Minor League Players - MLN FAB50 Baseball 2006.
- No. 30 of Baseball's Best Minor League Players - MLN FAB50 Baseball 2005.
- No. 32 of Baseball's Best Minor League Players - MLN FAB50 Baseball 2004.
In Popular CultureEdit
Jiménez was mentioned during the Warehouse_13 episode entitled "Merge With Caution" as being one of the Rockies' strengths.
- ↑ http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/Sky-high-skills-Ubaldo-Jimenez-earns-pitching%27s-highest-rank%3A-ace
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Harding, Thomas (April 18, 2010). Jimenez throws first no-hitter in Rox history. MLB.com. Retrieved on April 18, 2010.
- ↑ Associated Press (September 26, 2006). 'Mar power: Nomar drives Dodgers back to wild-card lead. ESPN.com. Retrieved on July 5, 2010.
- ↑ Associated Press (October 1, 2006). Cubs rally to send president, likely Baker out with win. ESPN.com. Retrieved on July 5, 2010.
- ↑ Associated Press (July 29, 2007). Rockies beat Dodgers to close gap in NL West. ESPN.com. Retrieved on July 5, 2010.
- ↑ Associated Press (October 6, 2007). Jimenez, Rockies flush Phils with three-game sweep. ESPN.com. Retrieved on July 5, 2010.
- ↑ Associated Press (October 12, 2007). Rockies take 2-0 NLCS lead after Taveras' walk wins it in 11th. ESPN.com. Retrieved on July 5, 2010.
- ↑ Associated Press (October 25, 2007). Schilling's savvy, bullpen help Boston take 2-0 lead. ESPN.com. Retrieved on July 5, 2010.
- ↑ http://colorado.rockies.mlb.com/team/player.jsp?player_id=434622
- ↑ http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=pit&lg=all&qual=y&type=4&season=2008&month=0
- ↑ Harding, Thomas (January 27, 2009). Rockies sign Jimenez to four-year deal. MLB.com. Retrieved on April 18, 2010.
- ↑ TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) (March 10, 2010). Rockies name Ubaldo Jimenez Opening Day starter. USA Today. Retrieved on April 18, 2010.
- ↑ http://www.worldbaseballclassic.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090311&content_id=3963948&team=dom
- ↑ http://espn.go.com/mlb/recap?id=300417115
- ↑ http://colorado.rockies.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100503&content_id=9766220&vkey=news_col&fext=.jsp&c_id=col
- ↑ http://scores.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=300427127
- ↑ http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=300606129
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 http://colorado.rockies.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100602&content_id=10721334&vkey=news_col&fext=.jsp&c_id=col
- ↑ http://mlb.mlb.com/team/player.jsp?player_id=434622
- ↑ http://espn.go.com/mlb/recap?id=300509119
- ↑ http://colorado.rockies.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100712&content_id=12217500&vkey=news_col&fext=.jsp&c_id=col
- ↑ http://www.denverpost.com/rockies/ci_15509557
- ↑ http://www.denverpost.com/rockies/ci_15501738
- ↑ http://www.fangraphs.com
- ↑ http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2008/11/the_bill_james_5.php
- ↑ http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2009/3/25/809848/ubaldo-jimenez-fx
- ↑ http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/fastball-slider-changeup-curveball-an-analysis/
- ↑ http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/05/ubaldo-jimenez-and-his-mama.html.php
- ↑ Ubaldo Jiménez - No. 24 of Baseball's Best Minor League Players - MLN FAB50 Baseball 2006.
- ↑ Ubaldo Jiménez - No. 30 of Baseball's Best Minor League Players - MLN FAB50 Baseball 2005.
- ↑ Ubaldo Jiménez - No. 32 of Baseball's Best Minor League Players - MLN FAB50 Baseball 2004.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
April 17, 2010