Colorado Rockies right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez(notes) gave a sign of things to come by taming the Milwaukee Brewers in this season’s opener. In his next matchup with the Brewers, he’ll try to make franchise history.
After falling short in his first attempt, Jimenez will try to become the first Rockies pitcher with 18 wins in one season during Sunday’s finale of a three-game series at Coors Field.
Following a career-high 15 victories in 2009, Jimenez opened this campaign by allowing one run and striking out six during a 5-3 victory in Milwaukee on April 5. That began a streak of six consecutive winning outings and propelled him to becoming the first pitcher in 10 years to post 15 victories before the All-Star break.
After a slow start to the second half, Jimenez (17-3, 2.55 ERA) earned two more wins to tie Jeff Francis(notes) (2007), Pedro Astacio (1999) and Kevin Ritz (1996) for the Rockies’ single-season record. Jimenez is tied for the major league lead in victories with St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright(notes).
In his first opportunity to top that mark, he allowed one run and four hits over seven innings for the third consecutive game but lost 1-0 to the New York Mets on Tuesday night. Jimenez has received zero runs of support in each of his losses this season.
“I don’t care if I lose a game,” Jimenez told the team’s official website. “I just care about the team, especially since we only have two more months left.”
Jimenez is 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA in three career starts against the Brewers and will face them at home for the first time since June 6, 2008.
After losing 5-4 in the series opener, Milwaukee (55-63) won by the same score in 10 innings Saturday night behind a 16-hit attack. One of those was the tiebreaking single from third baseman Casey McGehee(notes), who is 15 for 30 with 10 RBIs in his last seven games.
McGehee and Manny Parra(notes) (3-9, 5.46) now try to lead the Brewers to their first series victory in Colorado since Aug. 15-17, 2005. Parra seems an unlikely candidate to deliver that win as he’s 0-4 with a 7.44 ERA in his last six starts and 0-2 with a 7.27 ERA in two against the Rockies (60-56).
The right-hander, however, gave up two runs over six innings in a 2-0 loss at Colorado on June 18. He allowed one run and four hits over 5 1-3 frames Tuesday night against Arizona but also matched a career high with six walks in a 2-1 defeat.
It was the first time in seven starts Parra issued more than three walks.
“Manny was OK,” manager Ken Macha told the team’s website. “He had six walks. That’s been part of his improvement, I’ve felt. Last year, he had a bunch of games where he had a high number of walks like that.”
The Rockies, who have alternated loses and wins in their last 11 games, haven’t earned a series victory since sweeping the Chicago Cubs at home July 30-Aug. 1.