Tribe turns Ubaldo's attention to the positives

Tribe turns Ubaldo's attention to the positives

ARLINGTON -- The Indians want to make sure that Ubaldo Jimenez concentrates more on the strides he has made of late and less on his overall showing this season. The club has tried to help by providing the pitcher with statistical evidence of his progress.

"We have been able to show it to him with stats on paper," Indians manager Manny Acta said on Wednesday, "so he doesn't just think about the whole year. We just try to take the positive out of it. As of late, the results haven't been there with W's and L's, but he has thrown the ball much better.

"It's good that he can see it in front of him. The numbers are there to prove it."

Acta pointed to Jimenez's recent strikeout rate. Dating back to Aug. 9, the right-hander has fanned 9.31 hitters per nine innings on average, a rate that ranks sixth in the American League over that span. Above Jimenez are Chris Sale (11.43), Max Scherzer (11.09), Yu Darvish (10.6), Matt Moore (10.07) and Justin Verlander (9.94).

Jimenez has a rate of 3.08 strikeouts per walk over that time, which is an improvement over the 1.29 mark he posted prior to Aug. 9. His strikeout rate is also a significant upgrade on the 6.91 mark he had before his Aug. 9 outing.

"Since mid-August, he has pitched pretty well for us," Acta said. "His numbers stack up with the best pitchers in the American League when it comes to strikeouts per nine innings and walks and all that. Unfortunately, his batting average on balls in play hasn't helped him out.

"Some people attribute that to luck, which is something that I'm not a big believer in. He has thrown the ball a lot better than those numbers indicate since the second week of August."

Despite the progress with strikeouts and walks, Jimenez (9-16, 5.52 overall) has gone just 1-6 with a 6.28 ERA dating back to Aug. 9. He was 8-11 with a 5.29 ERA prior to that stretch. The righty is the first Indians pitcher since 1991 (Greg Swindell) to lose at least 16 games in a season.

"Even though I don't have too many wins in the second half," Jimenez said, "I think I've been able to be more consistent than the first half. Most of the starts, I've been able to at least give the team a chance to win."