What a difference a year makes. Cleveland starter Ubaldo Jimenz was named the American League’s Pitcher of the Month for September on Monday.
“Jimenez compiled a perfect 4-0 record in six starts in September with a 1.09 ERA, seven walks and 51 strikeouts over 41.1 innings pitched to claim his third career monthly award, previously winning for April and May 2010 while he was with the Colorado Rockies. He is the first Indians hurler to win Pitcher of the Month honors since Cliff Lee in August 2008.
Among A.L. leaders for September, Ubaldo finished first in innings pitched and strikeouts, was second in ERA, was tied for second in wins and was fourth in the league with 11.1 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched. Opponents managed just a .230 batting average against him. In a September 3rd matchup against the Baltimore Orioles, the 29-year-old Jimenez scattered four hits over 6.0 shutout innings with four strikeouts as the Tribe edged the O’s, 4-3, at Progressive Field. The victory snapped a personal two-game losing streak. In his next start on September 9th, the eight-year veteran allowed one unearned run on seven hits in 7.0 innings pitched to lead the Indians past the Kansas City Royals, 4-3, in Cleveland. Ubaldo struck out 10 batters for the third time in four outings, also striking out 10 in each of his starts on August 23rd (vs. Minnesota) and August 29th (at Atlanta).
His next trip to the bump proved just as commanding as the Dominican Republic native permitted one run on eight hits with one walk and eight strikeouts in a season-high 8.1 innings to help the Indians top the Chicago White Sox, 8-1, on September 14th at U.S. Cellular Field. Ubaldo’s third straight win marked his longest outing since registering a complete-game effort on June 1, 2011 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Facing the Houston Astros on September 19th, the 2010 National League All-Star allowed one run on six hits with nine strikeouts in a no-decision as Cleveland prevailed, 2-1, at Progressive Field. Jimenez followed that outing with a 6.1-inning effort against the White Sox on September 24th in which the right-hander allowed two runs on five hits with seven strikeouts and did not factor in the decision as Cleveland triumphed, 5-4. On the season’s final day and with a Postseason berth on the line, Jimenez shut down the Minnesota Twins offense over 6.2 innings, allowing just one run on five hits and registering a season-best 13 strikeouts as Cleveland won, 5-1, at Target Field to ensure a spot in Wednesday’s A.L. Wild Card Game Presented by Budweiser.
Others receiving votes included Jimenez’s Indians teammate Bryan Shaw (5-0, 0.00 ERA, 13 G, 15.1 IP, 15 SO); Bartolo Colon (4-1, 1.16 ERA, 31.0 IP, 33 SO) of the Oakland Athletics; Hisashi Iwakuma (2-0, 0.76 ERA, 35.2 IP, 28 SO) of the Seattle Mariners; Greg Holland (0-0, 0.64 ERA, 10 SV, 18 SO) of the Kansas City Royals; and Alex Cobb (3-0, 2.57 ERA, 35.0 IP, 35 SO) of the Tampa Bay Rays.”
[Related: When a win is more than a win]
The American League Pitcher of the Month, Ubaldo Jimenez, will receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, for his