Cubs will, once again, hope for a dramatic turnaround from Drew Smyly

The veteran left-hander is expected to start for the Cubs on Tuesday against the Tigers.

St. Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs
St. Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

Well, I'm back. After 3 1/2 years of somehow never coming down with COVID, it finally got not only me, but our daughter last week - so after some sick days together at home and recovering over the weekend, the family is on the mend and I'm getting back into the swing of things here at the blog.

Not only was COVID, generally, just not a pleasant experience - but I had to pass on the three games I had tickets for last week, including Christopher Morel's insane walkoff against the White Sox. I don't know how or if I'll ever come to terms knowing I otherwise would have been in the bleachers as Wrigley Field shook to its very foundations on Wednesday night.

Alas, the Cubs won and that's what matters. I could've gone without the loss to the Royals on Friday, but Cody Bellinger popping a pair of homers on Saturday (another of the games I had tickets too) softened the blow. Here we are now, and as I'm writing this, we're just underway in the rubber match against Kansas City.

Cubs have no choice but hope for more from Drew Smyly

Looking ahead to this week, the Cubs kick off a seven-game road trip, with three in Detroit followed by a four-game weekend set in Pittsburgh against the Pirates. Ahead of the Tigers series, Chicago announced its starting rotation - which includes the return of Drew Smyly, who'd been relegated to the bullpen of late after an extended stretch of struggles as a starter.

It's been a tale of two halves - and that's putting things mildly - for Smyly who, if you'll recall, lost a perfect game in absolutely stunning fashion back in April at Wrigley. From April 10 to May 23, he carried a sub-2.00 ERA in nine starts, which outpaced his still more than respectable 3.25 FIP. But from there, it went from solid to mixed bag to downright unsustainable.

From Memorial Day weekend until Aug 7., the last start he made before David Ross moved him to the pen, Smyly has been a disaster, evidenced by a 6.44 FIP, 7.22 ERA and .972 opponent OPS. He's notched a trio of scoreless frames in relief since then, but Tuesday will mark his first start since the Mets lit him up for seven runs in just five innings early in the month.


The Cubs hoped a 'short' stint in the pen would help Smyly re-set and, maybe it will. But given how prolonged his struggles have been out of the rotation, expecting him to suddenly put it all together this week seems like a stretch. But without much in the sense of alternatives with Marcus Stroman out indefinitely, this is the only path forward for the time being.