June 1, 2013
Last night/morning the Indians had to use five relievers, and given that today's game started less than twelve hours after the last one ended, meaning that many of those pitchers would not be available. The Indians added Matt Langwell to the roster to help somewhat, but Ubaldo Jimenez going deep into today's game would help much more than a spare AAA arm would.
And did Ubaldo deliver. He pitched eight shutout innings, allowing just four hits, only one of which left the infield. Ubaldo was efficient with his pitches, and just about every one of his pitches were moving the right direction. Tampa's offense is much improved over the past couple seasons, so this wasn't just a pitcher rolling over a weak offense like Miami or Kansas City, this was a good American League offense that he dominated (The Rays only came into this game trailing Detroit and Baltimore in Runs/Game).
Facing the Indians today was a pitcher that the Indians drafted. Chris Archer hasn't been in the organization for quite a while (he was dealt in the winter of 2008/2009 for Mark DeRosa), but he's the best starting pitcher drafted by the organization since Jeremy Guthrie or perhaps CC Sabathia. Keep in mind, though, that Archer was only in Lake County when the Indians dealt him, and only now in 2013 is he ready to break into the majors. The Indians forced him out after four innings, but you could see that the stuff is there for him to become a quality major-league starter. Archer allowed two two-run homers, one to Jason Giambi (whose swing has gotten quicker as his neck has felt better) and Asdrubal Cabrera.
Vinnie Pestano pitched the ninth inning, and while normally closers don't pitch the ninth inning when his club is up five, Pestano needs to pitch on a regular basis, so he came in to finish off the game. Pestano's velocity was up (in the 92-93 mph range), and hitters were reacting to his pitches much like in 2011-2012. That's a good sign.
Roll Call (20 Commenters)