rock­ies’ Jimenez in rare air

pitcher nearly un­beat­able de­spite play­ing at coors Field

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By Phil rogers

ANA­HEIM, Calif. — The best pitcher in the 2010 sea­son makes his home in Den­ver, work­ing in thin air and open spa­ces at Coors Field.

He ad­mits he en­joys road games be­cause then he has a bet­ter idea where his 98-and 99-mph fast­balls are go­ing.

“It’s harder to con­trol the ball in Den­ver,” said Ubaldo Jimenez, who started Tues­day night’s All-Star game for the Na­tional League. “When I go on the road, I know right away how my pitches are go­ing to move. It makes it eas­ier to have com­mand on the in­ner and outer parts of the plate.”

Jimenez has done all right in home games, too. He’s 15-1 with a 2.20 ERA over his first 18 starts for the Rock­ies, hold­ing hit­ters to a .198 av­er­age. Hit- ters mar­vel about the move­ment on his fast­ball, and Jimenez has ironed out is­sues with con­trol. He’s an easy choice to head our look at mid­sea­son awards.

Mid­sea­son bal­lot for Na­tional League Cy Young: Jimenez, Adam Wain­wright, Roy Hal­la­day.

The other awards:

AL cy Young: david price

The Tampa Bay lefty earned his spot as the All-Star starter by be­ing

tied for the AL lead in wins (12) and lead­ing in ERA (2.42), which re­mains one of the truest stats in sports (al­though it can be manipulated by of­fi­cial scor­ers). He was the Rays’ No. 4 starter en­ter­ing the sea­son but has been the best starter in the one ro­ta­tion to use only five guys all sea­son. This is what was ex­pected of him when he was hur­ried to the big leagues so he could pitch out of the bullpen in the 2008 play­offs. But this race could still be won by any of maybe 10 pitch­ers, with the 2009 post­sea­son and at­ten­tion from three trades in a year giv­ing Cliff Lee an edge if he pitches well with Texas.

Mid­sea­son bal­lot: Price, Jon Lester, CC Sa­bathia.

NL MVP: Scott Rolen

There are other guys with big­ger stats, but none who have meant more to a first-place team than the Cincin­nati third base­man whom St. Louis shipped to Toronto af­ter a run­ning feud with Tony La Russa. He has played a huge role in trans­form­ing the Reds into a strong field­ing team — first base­man Joey Votto worked on his glove work over the win­ter, a devel­op­ment Dusty Baker cred­its for Rolen set­ting the tone — and he’s made it eas­ier for Votto, Jonny Gomes and Bran­don Phillips to hit.

Mid­sea­son bal­lot: Rolen, Adrian Gon­za­lez, Votto, Jimenez, David Wright, Martin Prado, Car­los Gon­za­lez, An­dre Ethier, Corey Hart, Al­bert Pu­jols.

AL MVP: Miguel Cabr­era

No hit­ter is hav­ing a bet­ter sea­son than Miggy, who has kept an oth­er­wise un­der­whelm­ing Detroit team in the AL Cen­tral race. Cabr­era could pose a threat for the Triple Crown. He leads the bat­ting race by 22 points and has the lead in RBIs by two over Vladimir Guer­rero. At 22 home runs, he’s within two of Jose Bautista. Chip­per Jones re­cently said Cabr­era has of­fi­cially joined Pu­jols as one of the two best hit­ters in the game, and he’s right. He does seem to have grown up since the binge drink­ing with White Sox bud­dies that might have cost the Tigers a play­off spot in 2009.

Mid­sea­son bal­lot: Cabr­era, Robin­son Cano, Paul Kon­erko, Guer­rero, Kevin Youk­ilis, Bautista, Carl Craw­ford, Justin Morneau, David Or­tiz, Alex Rios.

NL rookie: Jaime Gar­cia

There are pro­duc­tive rook­ies ev­ery­where you look. But Gar­cia’s 2.17 ERA over 17 starts for St. Louis sets him apart. Along with Wain­wright and Chris Car­pen­ter, Gar­cia forms the tough­est 1-2-3 set of starters in the ma­jors. La Russa has done a good job man­ag­ing Gar­cia’s in­nings, so there’s no rea­son he can’t con­tinue for a full sea­son. His chance to ac­tu­ally win this award will de­pend on how Stephen Stras­burg fin­ishes his sea­son.

Mid­sea­son bal­lot: Gar­cia, Ike Davis, Ja­son Hey­ward.

AL rookie: Bren­nan Boesch

Some guys sur­prise even their own teams. That has been the case for Boesch, who has turned a quick look into a per­ma­nent as­sign­ment in the Detroit out­field. He’s hit­ting .342 with 12 home runs. His .990 OPS is sixth in the ma­jors among hit­ters with enough at-bats to qual­ify for a bat­ting ti­tle — pretty good for a guy Base­ball Amer­ica never trum­peted.

Mid­sea­son bal­lot: Boesch, Nef­tali Feliz, Austin Jack­son.

NL man­ager: Bud Black

Once Mike Scios­cia’s pitch­ing coach, Black has be­come a very good man­ager. It’s no sur­prise his team is win­ning on the strength of its pitch­ing staff (and Petco Park). Can the Padres keep it up? They’re in for a fight in a tight di­vi­sion, but teams built around pitch­ing have the best chance to last.

AL man­ager: Ozzie Guillen

Af­ter a dread­ful start, the White Sox threaten to ride the mo­men­tum of a 25-5 run to a third AL Cen­tral ti­tle in six years.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.