Chicago Cubs SP Edwin Jackson‘s 1-6 record with a 5.76 ERA is hardly impressive. However, with his four-year $52 million contract, he is not leaving the Cubs’ rotation anytime soon. With Matt Garza‘s return from the disabled list, Carlos Villanueva was demoted to the bullpen, despite his sub-4 ERA in 53 innings this season.
While Villanueva’s performance was more deserving of a rotation spot, Jackson’s contract will give him a much longer leash. Jackson has allowed just five earned runs in his last two starts (12 innings), and he will need to continue his strong performance against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Pirates SP Jeanmar Gomez is also pitching for a spot in the rotation. With Jeff Karstens and Charlie Morton on rehab assignments, the Pirates will need to open up two rotation spots or keep one of those two in the bullpen.
Though Karstens has experience in the ‘pen, his recent success as a starter for the Pirates is hard to forget. As the Pirates’ rotation currently stands, Gomez is the most logical candidate to be demoted to either the bullpen or minor leagues.
The Pirates have yet to allow Gomez to pitch more than 79 pitches or 5 innings in a single start, and it does not seem like he has a concrete future in the major league rotation. In his four starts, Gomez has allowed just six earned runs in 18.2 innings.
Though it seems that Gomez will fall out of the rotation, his 2.78 ERA and ability to give the club multiple innings will still provide value out of the bullpen.
Gabe Isaacson is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter: @gabeisaacson.