Ubaldo Jimenez will make his first home appearance for the Indians in tonight’s middle-game of Cleveland’s three-game series with the Detroit Tigers, with a chance to pull the Tribe to within two games of first place in the American League Central.
Jimenez, it will be remembered, was in line to get a victory in his first outing for the Indians, last Friday in Texas, but ended up with a no-decision when Chris Perez let a two-run lead slip away in the ninth inning of a game the Tribe ended up dropping in 11 frames, 8-7.
In that one, Jimenez gave up seven hits and five runs in five innings, but (seeing the glass as half-full), there was of course the nervous factor of making his first start for his new club. And let’s be frank here, facing the Rangers in their hitter-friendly park is a chore no matter who the starter is.
This will not be Jimenez’s first appearance against the Tigers this year. He beat Detroit 5-4 in an interleague game on June 18, giving up three runs in five innings in Colorado. For his career, Ubaldo has faced the Tigers three times, with an overall mark of 1-2 in 16 innings and with a 5.63 ERA. Jimenez has not helped his cause vs. Detroit by giving up 29 baserunners in those 16 innings.
The Tigers will send Rick Porcello (11-6, 4.49 ERA) tonight. Porcello will be making his second appearance vs. The Good Guys in 2011. On April 30 Porcello got a no-decision in a 3-2 Cleveland win at Progressive Field, giving up only two runs on seven hits in seven innings, and fanning seven.
Worth noting is that Porcello has never lost to the Tribe. In eight starts, he is 4-0 vs. the Indians, with an ERA of 2.32 in 50.1 innings.
In other words, it won’t be easy tonight, and if form holds true for Porcello against Cleveland, Jimenez will have to bring a better effort than he put forth in Arlington to keep the Indians in the game.
But first things first. Let’s get this one tonight and clinch a series win over the Tigers.