CINCINNATI -- In his last outing, Ubaldo Jimenez accomplished something for the first time since donning an Indians uniform. Cleveland can only hope he is becoming the type of front-line pitcher the club felt it acquired last season.
"He didn't have any walks," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "That was the first time since June of last year."
On Sunday in St. Louis, Jimenez surrendered just one run with seven strikeouts and no walks over seven innings of a win over the Cardinals. It marked the first time since June 7 of last season, when Jimenez was still pitching for the Rockies, that he issued no free passes in an outing.
Jimenez walked at least one in each of his 11 starts after being traded to the Indians last season and he had at least one free pass in his first 11 outings this year. The right-hander's progress goes beyond just walks, though.
Over his past two appearances, Jimenez has given up just two runs on 10 hits with 11 strikeouts and one walk over 13 2/3 innings. That marks the most innings, as well as the fewest runs allowed or walks issued, in consecutive starts for Jimenez since being acquired by the Tribe at the July 31 Trade Deadline last summer.
Prior to his past two starts, Jimenez had posted an 8.85 ERA with 20 earned runs allowed on 26 hits over 20 1/3 innings. In that stretch, the righty struck out 13 and walked 17.
The strides made by Jimenez and Opening Day starter Justin Masterson of late have been encouraging developments for Cleveland.
"It's good," Acta said. "The fact that Ubaldo and Justin pitched back-to-back good games, it was just nice to see. It was good. We really need those two guys if we're going anywhere."