The rollercoaster ride that has been Ubaldo Jimenez since coming to Cleveland at the end last summer had another day malfunctioning on Friday, as the Indians late comeback still left them short, 7-5 at the hands of the Red Sox.
A day after battering Josh Beckett, his golf mate, Clay Bucholz was able to keep the Indians at bat for 6.1 innings before giving way to his shaky bullpen.
In his 6.1 innings, Bucholz was charged with four runs (three earned) on eight hits. He walked three batters and didn’t strike anyone out.
The Indians had Bucholz on the ropes most of the night, as he threw 111 pitches (68 for strikes) and they finally knocked him out in seventh on single, a pair of walked and an error by third basemen Will Middlebrooks. Rich Hill replaced Bucholz and allowed Michael Brantley to single back up the middle to score Asdrubal Cabrera, and at that time cut the lead to 7-4.
Before giving way to Hill, Bucholz walked Travis Hafner to force in Johnny Damon who had a one out single. Santana reached on Middlebrooks’ error and scored Jason Kipnis who also singled following Damon’s.
All the late frantic scoring was for naught, because Jimenez once again went downhill off the track of the ride he’s been on since coming into the wigwam.
Jimenez, after blanking the Rangers on Sunday through seven innings, looked like he never had anything on Friday. He threw 99 pitches (58 strikes) and pitching to five Red Sox in the fifth inning, but only recording one out.
In his 4.1 innings of work, Jimenez allowed all seven of the Red Sox scored runs on nine hits in hits. He walked five and managed to strike out four.
The Red Sox chased him out in the fifth, probably much to their dismay, after allowing a Ryan Sweeney single that scored Cody Ross to make it 6-1. Prior to that Jimenez walked Daniel Nava to start the inning and Ross doubled to plate Nava. Dan Wheeler relieved Jimenez and allowed Dustin Pedroia to hit a sac fly scoring Nick Punto, who had reached on a fielder’s choice.
That wasn’t even the worst of the damage Jimenez allowed.
Before even getting two outs, it was pretty obvious the Big U was and the Indians were in for a rough night behind him. He got Sweeney to strike out swinging to start off the bottom of the first and he got stuck on the tracks from there on out.
Pedroia reached on a slow chopper to third and the Jimenez issued a four pitch walk to David Ortiz to follow. He uncorked a wild pitch and then hit Adrian Gonzales on the third pitch of his at bat to load the bases.
Middlebrooks doubled in Pedroia and Ortiz.
That erased the 1-0 lead the Indians jumped out to on Bucholz in the first inning.
It looked good for the Indians early on against him, as he came into the game with a 9.09 ERA. Asdrubal Cabrera worked a two out walk and advanced to third on a Travis Hafner single. Carlos Santana singled back up the middle to score Cabrera.
The Indians didn’t muster anything else until the seventh inning off of Bucholz, but the Red Sox got right after Jimenez in the second inning. Pedroia doubled in the gap in right that brought in Punto and Sweeney who led off the inning with singles.
Despite ship Jimenez trying to leave them stranded at sea, the Indians did mount a pretty good comeback.
Brantley singled in Santana who walked to lead off the ninth inning off of closer Alfredo Aceves. Casey Kotchman singled and Jason Donald pinch ran and stole second to put runners at second and third with one out.
Jack Hannahan struck out and Damon flew out to end the game.
The Indians near comeback was only made possible thanks to Wheeler and Tony Sipp, two of the Indians most embattled relievers, pitching 2.2 innings of scoreless baseball. Wheeler did allow one of the runners Jimenez left on to score in his first inning of work. They also did combine to allow three hits and three walks.
The Red Sox bullpen wasn’t as solid. Hill allowed three inherited runs to score that were charged to Bucholz. Aceves allowed two hits and a walk lead to a run and ended the Indians threat with two in scoring position.
W: Bucholz (4-1) L: Jimenez (3-3) S: Aceves (6)
Notes: Friday was the first start all season where Bucholz didn’t allow at least five runs. He came in with a 9.09 ERA and allowed three earned runs and left with an 8.31 ERA. He had beaten every AL team but the Indians until Friday night. Jimenez has a 2-2 record on the road this season in four starts but with a 7.65 ERA. At Progressive Field he is 1-1 but with a 2.70 ERA in three starts. He now has 30 walks and 24 strikeouts on the season in 40 innings pitched.
The Indians will try to ensure at least a series split tomorrow night as they send Josh Tomlin (2-2 4.67) to the mound Saturday night at 7:10.
The Red Sox will counter with Felix Doubront (2-1 5.29).
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POSTED 05/12/2012 01:58