The injury to starting pitcher Marcus Stroman forced the Chicago Cubs to go back to veteran pitcher Drew Smyly for their need in the starting rotation and it backfired instantly.
Smyly got the start for the Cubs on Tuesday against the Detroit Tigers and failed to make it out of the fourth inning. Smyly allowed 7 runs on 8 hits while also serving up 2 home runs. For Smyly, it was the return of the struggles that originally displaced him from the starting rotation earlier this month.
For as a team that has shown urgency in over the course of the past month by releasing struggling veterans Trey Mancini and Tucker Barnhart, Cubs' manager David Ross appeared to lack that urgency when reflecting on Smyly's struggles last night.
""Well, who takes his spot in the rotation is the big question," Ross said after an 8-6 loss in Detroit. "He's in there because we're a little short-handed right now. It's his first start back. Let's give him a little bit of grace and I don't know that we have anybody waiting in line that we feel like is some dominant force.""- Daily Herald
While Ross' defense would make sense if Smyly was making his first start of the season, it doesn't apply in the case of the veteran starting pitcher. Smyly has struggled consistently since May 1. In 96.1 innings pitched since May 1, Smyly has posted a 5.89 ERA and with an FIP of 5.80 in that same stretch, it is indicative that the struggles have indeed been the fault of the starting pitcher.
While the Cubs may not have a "dominant force" waiting to take the reigns of a spot in the starting rotation, they have promising pitching prospects in Ben Brown and Jordan Wicks that could prove to be an upgrade from the lack of production the team has received from Smyly outside of the first month of the season.