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Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Ubaldo Jimenez solid in big Rockies win

Ubaldo Jimenez has been a hot topic of conversation lately with trade rumors swirling around where the Colorado Rockies may send their ace. Jimenez's consistency has also been a hot topic lately – highlighted by a Twitter exchange Tuesday between Buster Olney and David Cameron.

While a glance at Jimenez's ERA would suggest he’s inconsistent, a look at the statistics he can control – strikeout rate and walk rate, primarily – indicates that he’s essentially the same pitcher he’s been all along, with these two measurements staying relatively steady over the past three seasons.

Against the Atlanta Braves, Jimenez continued his string of solid starts, striking out nine in 6.2 innings to improve to 5-1 in his last seven starts. Jimenez's strikeout total is his second-highest in a game in which he allowed seven or more hits.

On August 15, 2010 he allowed 10 hits and had 10 strikeouts against the Brewers in a 6-5 win. On Tuesday against the Braves, he allowed seven hits and had nine strikeouts.

Elsewhere Around the Diamond:

Danny Valencia tallied his fourth career walk-off hit to lead the Minnesota Twins to a win over the Cleveland Indians. For the Indians, Justin Masterson (7.2 IP, 0 ER) now has a 1.52 ERA over his last six starts.
Justin Masterson

Masterson ran with his sinker, tying a season high with 103 sinkers of 104 total pitches. When Masterson kept his sinker down, it was untouchable as the Twins went 0 for 12 with four strikeouts and eight ground-ball outs.

In two games against Masterson this season, the Twins are 1 for 19 (.053) with six strikeouts in at-bats ending with a sinker down. Masterson threw a season high 59 of his 103 sinkers in the strike zone.

The Twins grounded out 14 times in at-bats ending with a pitch in the strike zone. That is Masterson's highest total in a start since the start of the 2009 season.

• The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Cincinnati Reds 1-0, behind a strong performance from starter James McDonald. At 51-44, the Pirates are now seven games over .500 for the first time since April 21, 2002 when the team was 12-5 (and finished the season 72-89). The Pirates have eight shutouts this season, with three coming against the Reds.

Neil Walker was 1 for 3, and now has a 13-game hitting streak. The Pirates posted consecutive shutouts for the first time since April 17-18, 2009, and they have eight shutouts this season after posting six last season.

• The New York Mets defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-2. Carlos Beltran went 2-2 with two doubles and two walks against Kyle Lohse, and is now hitting .564 (22-39) with four home runs and 11 walks off Lohse.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, the .564 mark by Beltran is the second-highest average by any active batter against any active pitcher (minimum 35 at-bats). The top mark is held by Jason Giambi (.622, 23 for 37) against Darren Oliver.