SAN FRANCISCO — Cubs left-hander Drew Smyly started his day Saturday learning that Chris Martin had been traded to the Dodgers. The two, who have been teammates in three cities and won a World Series together last year, were texting back and forth when Martin broke the news.
Later that night, Smyly, who also has popped up in trade rumors, was scheduled for his last start before the trade deadline.
“I‘ve been traded at the deadline before,” Smyly said after allowing all five runs in the Cubs’ 5-4 loss to the Giants on Saturday. “I’ve been traded [three times], once by the Cubs already. So we as players just look forward to going to play between the lines, and there’s nothing else we can really do about it. But we all realize that the Cubs will do what they think will make the best team going forward. So our job is to keep playing.”
In November 2018, the Cubs traded Smyly to the Rangers before he had ever taken the mound for them. He’d spent the year rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.
This time around, he has 13 starts (4.42 ERA) despite being sidelined for more than a month with a strained right oblique.
In his first game back from the injured list three weeks ago, Smyly allowed four runs in two innings against the Dodgers. But he limited the Mets and Phillies to one earned run apiece in his next two starts.
“Even today he made some good pitches,” catcher Yan Gomes said Saturday. “Those guys took good swings. Some of those times, you tip your cap. They started getting a pretty decent approach laying off his curveball, which we all know is a pretty important pitch for him.
“Coming back from the IL, he hit the ground running. He’s probably back to full strength right now, so I’m excited to see what the second half brings.”
The Giants did all their damage the second time through the order. In the third inning, Smyly issued a four-pitch walk to Darin Ruf and gave up an RBI double to Austin Slater and an RBI single to Yermin Mercedes.
To open Smyly’s next inning, Giants third baseman David Villar hit his first pitch on the ground between shortstop Nico Hoerner and third baseman Patrick Wisdom and just out of Wisdom’s reach as he slid after it.
Smyly then fell behind in the count to Luis Gonzalez and threw a sinker up and in. The left-handed hitter turned on it and sent a towering two-run homer into Levi’s Landing.
“I was just trying to go fastball away, and I missed up and in,” Smyly said.
Smyly threw his next pitch, a cutter, up and in to right-handed hitter Joey Bart. He, too, pulled the ball over the fence to give the Giants a five-run lead.
Smyly induced groundouts from the next three batters to get out of the inning and end his outing.
It wasn’t the kind of start, Smyly said, that he’d expect to sway his trade-deadline fate one way or another.
“I’ve made it pretty clear that I love showing up to work every day being a Cub,” he said. “It’s a really fun team to be a part of, even though we’re not getting the wins we necessarily want. It’s a really good group of guys, and it’s enjoyable in that clubhouse. But if I get traded, it’d be fun competing for another championship, too.”