Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez's new four-year deal worth $50 million is not off to a great start. Baltimore committed more money to Jimenez than any other free-agent pitcher in franchise history, but he has yet to give the O's a quality start.
Jimenez, who is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA, struggled with his command in his most recent outing, a 4-2 loss to the Yankees. He gave up eight hits, walked five and did not make it out of the fifth inning.
"I put enough pressure on myself to be there for the team," Jimenez said. "I know I haven't been there the first two games, but I don't think I have any more pressure to be there."
Jimenez has struggled during the season's early months throughout his career, posting a 5.10 ERA in April and May, more than a full run above his career mark of 3.95. He said working on his mechanics is usually the issue.
"My last game, I couldn't get any breaking balls [over]," Jimenez said. "Fastball was good but I wasn't able to put away hitters. I was able to get ahead sometimes but I wasn't able to put them away because I didn't have any breaking ball."
Unless Jimenez rebounds significantly, he will have a tough time keeping up with left-hander Mark Buehrle, who is taking the hill for Toronto. Even though Buehrle gave up a lot of hard-hit balls in his most recent start, he still limited the Astros to one run.
Buehrle told reporters following the game he hardly felt right in his second start.
"I was up in the zone and everything, wasn't getting ahead in the count like I was last start," Buehrle said on April 9. "I'm fortunate to get away with one run in 5 1/3 innings. That could have been a game where I gave out eight to 10 runs."
The two hurlers enter a series that has seen the two clubs combine for only five runs in two games. With the rubber game on Sunday, Jimenez will face a Toronto lineup that entered the series having scored four runs or more in five straight games.
Although Jimenez is disappointed in his start this season, he is not dwelling in the past. Instead, he will go out his next start and try to realize the talent the Orioles loved enough to pay him handsomely.
"I just put it in my mind that it's not how you start, it's how you finish," Jimenez said. "I know that every game means a lot because we are in a really tough division so you're looking forward to being there for the team. I haven't been able to be relied on in the first two games. But I'm definitely working hard to be there."
Blue Jays: The Melk-man delivers
• Left fielder Melky Cabrera extended his hitting streak to 12 games by finishing 2-for-5 on Saturday night.
• Toronto right-hander Steve Delabar pitched a scoreless inning of relief on Saturday, walking one and striking out one. It was his first appearance since he was struck in the right leg by a line drive against the Astros on April 9.
• Colby Rasmus homered in the top of the ninth on Saturday night, upping the Blue Jays' Majors-leading total of April and May home runs since the beginning of last season to 48.
Orioles: Club up and down in one-run games
• After finishing 29-9 in one-run games in 2012, Baltimore went 20-31 in games decided by one run in 2013. The Orioles are 3-2 in one-run games so far in 2014.
• Chris Davis' career-best hitting streak ended at eight games on Saturday with an 0-for-3 night, but he stole his first base since Sept. 20, 2013, against the Rays at Tropicana Field.
• Jimenez is 2-1 with a 4.61 ERA in five career starts against Toronto.
• Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista has batted .053 (1-for-19) with a double, a walk and four strikeouts against Jimenez.
• Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis owns a career .447 (17-for-38) batting average against Buehrle with two home runs, four RBIs and six doubles.
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.