Jimenez Keeps Rolling
Cesar Jimenez kept it rolling yesterday, going 8IP without allowing a run. He struck out only one, but only allowed 5 hits, and he managed to induce 3 double plays.
Detectovision has a POTD feature on him here, and Jeff does a nice job of laying out some of the contradictory data we have on this guy. He's not striking anyone out, and yet no one's getting any hits. He's not some GB-machine, but no one's hitting home runs. He's got so-so velocity, but he's by no means some sort of control artist (4.7BB/9). So what's the deal here?
Like DOV, I really don't know what to think. In last night's game, he looked in complete control, as the Fresno Grizzlies managed just 5 singles off him. But a number of hitters managed to square the ball up and hit deep flies to right center - Adam Jones made two catches on the warning track. At the same time, he's coming off a 1 hit shutout in Las Vegas, where any well-struck fly ball is long gone. So is it possible that he had an 'off night' last night? For the Rainiers' sake, I hope so.
It really is difficult to go this long (38IP over 6 starts) and pitch this well strictly on luck - BABIP or otherwise. DOV makes the point that J at MarinerMinors has been talking about Cesar's ability to change speeds for a while now. And both are right that he's got to be just about perfect for his stuff to work in MLB. But for now, it's a lot of fun to watch. I wasn't in my customary seats last night (I'm a sucker for all you can eat hot dogs. sorry.) so I didn't get to see if he was really hitting his spots, but you notice when 95% of the best swings a team gets on a ball go for one-hop grounders or line-drive singles. Jimenez is managing to keep basically the entire PCL off balance, and he's been doing it for a month. Definitely someone to keep an eye on.
Also, kudos to Adam Jones, who moved up to the leadoff slot last night with Shin-Soo Choo's departure and responded with a home run to *right* center. Nice to see him go the other way with power. Ismael Castro went 3-4 as well and looked solid at 2b on those three double plays. Snelling had a bit of an off night, but the Rainiers certainly didn't need much help in pounding 8 runs and 13 hits off of Michael Tejera (who had been one of Fresno's best starters). Washington prep stars Todd Linden and Jed Hansen had a lot of friends and family at the game; Linden (South K) went 1-4, but was upstaged by Hansen (Olympia), who hit a monster home run in the ninth off of Thom Oldham for Fresno's consolation run.