The Indians, winners of eight of their last nine games since Thursday, are as advertised. They’re a team featuring an offense that entered Tuesday ranked third in the American League in runs per game, and a rotation that ranked 10th with a 4.85 ERA.
Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez still hangs around as a linchpin for the rotation. Though manager Terry Francona points to the pitcher’s last three starts as evidence that he may be turning a corner. In those three starts, against the Astros, Royals and Athletics, Jimenez is 2-0 with a 3.06 ERA, 16 strikeouts and six walks in 17 2/3 innings.
“It all revolves around him being direct to the plate,” Francona says. “He’s good when he strides and lands straight to the plate. He’s crisp, he’s downhill, his fastball has life. When he opens up — and more often than not it’s out of the stretch — his ball is flat, he loses his delivery and he gets into trouble.”
Can Ubaldo forget his past struggles and earn his paycheck with the Indians? His next start is against Verlander, good competition. We’ll see if his streak continues when he steps up to the mound.