Cubs News

Drew Smyly was determined to make one more start at Wrigley as uncertain future awaits

2 years agoAndy Martinez

Drew Smyly knew when he could get back to pitching, he wanted to do so at Wrigley Field, in front of the Cubs faithful.

“I really wanted to start this weekend and not next week in Cincy, just to experience that home crowd at Wrigley one more time and the fans and the energy here are just unmatched,” Smyly said. “It was just a nice Saturday for sure.”

Smyly made his first start since September 14 in New York, pitching 3 innings of 1-run ball and striking out 2 as the Cubs beat the Reds 2-1. Smyly and the Cubs knew he wanted to pitch before the end of the season and end the year on a positive note.

“I think he wants to end the season healthy. I think that’s a priority,” David Ross said before the game. “Guys like to play baseball; they like to go out there and compete. They’re working to get back and he’s been working to get back and be healthy and just wants to go out there.”

When he’s been out there, Smyly has been an effective starter for the Cubs, pitching to a 3.47 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 22 starts this season. He had a stellar August, pitching to a sparkling 0.90 ERA and 0.93 WHIP in 5 starts that month, showing what kind of a pitcher he could be.

“When he’s been healthy, he’s been really good,” Ross said. “I think that’s something he takes a lot of pride in and wants to be better at, being able to make every start. I know that’s something he’s said and wants to be that guy and he’s been extremely reliable when he’s taken the ball for us.”

The environment the Cubs have created has made Smyly that much more comfortable and allowed him to succeed. He’s repeatedly said how special the Cubs are and how appreciative he is to be with the team.

“The culture here and the coaching staff, they put everyone in a really good position to succeed and showing up to work every day, everyone’s really excited to get to the ball field,” Smyly said. “That’s something for me being around a lot of teams, I don’t take that for granted. From April all the way to the end of September, you look forward to showing up every day and being around those guys.”

Smyly has a mutual option for 2023 and could return to the team next season. A reunion would make sense — he provides a veteran presence to their staff and, when healthy, has been a strong starter that gives the Cubs a chance to win every time he’s out there.

“I hope they see me in their plans,” Smyly said. “I would love to come back. Playing games here and putting on this uniform is really special. Whether I came back or not, it’s just gonna be a season that I remember and really proud to put on this uniform and I feel good about the season I had and I know I can help this team win in the future, so we’ll see.”

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