About a week ago I would have bet on Ubaldo Jimenez to be the first pitcher pulled from the rotation this year. But after two strong outings, his job is safe. Not to worry though, Jeanmar Gomez has picked up the slack in the unwatchable performance category.
In each of his past three starts, Gomez has been knocked out before the end of the 6th while giving up at least five runs. Since 1990, only four Indians have put together a longer streak, and if their history tells us anything, it’s that Gomez may not be long for the rotation.
Cliff Lee, 2007 – At the time, it looked like the end of the road for Lee in Cleveland. After four straight miserable starts, during which he posted an 11.70 ERA, Lee was sent to the minors. He would return in September, but only appeared in relief.
Jaret Wright, 2002 – Wright was still just 25 years old when he posted a 20.25 ERA through his first four starts. The Tribe would allow him to make two more starts and a handful of relief appearances, but when he became a free agent that offseason the Tribe made little (if any) effort to bring him back.
Jack Morris, 1994 – Despite a four-game stretch during which he posted 8.88 ERA, the Indians stuck with Morris (probably because the alternative was Albie Lopez). And while Morris’ career in Cleveland didn’t end well, he actually went 4-1 in his next seven starts with a 2.68 ERA.
Charlie Nagy, 1991 – As a 24-year-old rookie, the Indians really had no reason not to stick with Nagy. On August 1st, the date on which Nagy’s rough four-game stretch began, the Indians were already 24.5 games out of 1st place. They were rewarded for their patience though, as Nagy undoubtedly benefited from the experience and bounced back with a career year in 1992.
So where does that leave Jeanmar Gomez? He’s 24 yeards old, and it’s far too early to give up on him for good. In the long run he may benefit from grinding it out and learning how to work through his struggles at the big league level. But the Indians are very much alive in the playoff race and Zach McAllister has proven he’s ready for more substantial shot at pitching in the majors.
Given those circumstances, I think it’s reasonable to assume that Gomez is pitching for his job tonight.
Follow Ryan on twitter @TribeFanMcC