'Effectively wild' Jimenez confounds A's

Melvin: 'We continue to go back and forth offensively'

'Effectively wild' Jimenez confounds A's
August 17, 2013, 10:30 pm
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Ubaldo Jimenez's line on Saturday: 5 2/3 innings, one run, one hit, eight strikeouts, five walks. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

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OAKLAND -- There was a time, not so long ago, that Ubaldo Jimenez was as dominant a starter as any in the game, one who would challenge batters with his fastball and blow them away with his heat.

That guy did not show up Saturday night for Cleveland at the O.co Coliseum.

Rather, as A's manager Bob Melvin put it, Jimenez was "effectively wild."

Effective enough to keep the A's hitless until there were two out in the sixth and help the Indians overcome the A's, 7-1.

Consider Ubaldo's line: 5 2/3 innings, one run, one hit, eight strikeouts, five walks, a hit batter and 105 pitches, 58 strikes.

Now compare it to Oakland starter Dan Straily's: 5 2/3 innings, three runs, six hits, seven strikeouts, four walks and 103 pitches, 58 strikes.

Similar but different, no?

"When you're not scoring any runs it looks like he pitched a little worse than he did," Melvin said of his starter's outing. "All in all, not too bad."

Jimenez, though, was having flashbacks.

"Since I got in the fifth inning, it brought a lot of good memories of my no-hitter in Atlanta," Jimenez said of his 2010 no-no for Colorado, the first in Rockies history. "Especially when I walked six guys in that no-hitter.

"We established the fastball in the first inning. It’s not like I was wild. I was pretty much close in the strike zone…I wanted to get out of the sixth inning without (more) damage."

Indeed, the difference between pitchers was that Straily was trailing 2-0 after the first, and 3-0 when the A's finally got to Jimenez on Josh Donaldson's first-pitch single to center field to drive in Josh Reddick, who had been hit by a Jimenez pitch, from second.

The A's sluggish, inconsistent bats did Straily no favors.

[Instant Replay: Jimenez Indians shut down A's]

"We continue to go back and forth a little bit offensively," Melvin said. "We have to grind our way through it, get a couple of games in a row, and start feeling a little bit better about ourselves. Jimenez was at times effectively wild today. He does have good stuff, he does have a lot of different pitches that you have to worry about.

"He walked some guys but we couldn't square him up."

Donaldson was the only A's batter to get a hit off Jimenez as his RBI ended his night.

"He throws a lot of off-speed for a guy that throws 94 mph," said Donaldson, who had two of the A's three hits on the night. "He doesn't want you to hit the ball. He wasn't getting squeezed to got those five walks."

Then about that effectively wild description?

"He wasn't throwing up and in to make you feel skittish," Donaldson said. "He's just one of those guys that does not want you to hit the baseball."

Then his plan worked.

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