Drew Smyly will replace Marcus Stroman in Cubs’ rotation

The 34-year-old lost his spot after posting an 8.37 ERA in his first five outings after the All-Star break.

SHARE Drew Smyly will replace Marcus Stroman in Cubs’ rotation
Drew Smyly has had three consecutive scoreless outings as a reliever.

Drew Smyly has had three consecutive scoreless outings as a reliever.

Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

At least for now, Drew Smyly will return to the Cubs’ rotation to take Marcus Stroman’s spot.

Smyly, 34, lost his spot this month after putting up an 8.37 ERA in his first five outings after the All-Star break, which included two attempts to pair Smyly with an opener to ease him into games.

Manager David Ross has alluded to internal metrics suggesting Smyly’s stuff should allow him to return to his success from earlier in the season. He was picked over Hayden Wesneski.

After Smyly’s three consecutive scoreless outings as a reliever, Ross also was hoping some confidence and aggression were restored.

“It felt like he was on the attack out there,” Ross said. “Maybe that will translate to ‘Let me not save anything in our start,’ and get a little bit of that mentality.”

Ross said they’ll play it by ear as far as Smyly’s pitch count Tuesday, but he has been “staying conditioned to give us length.”

“There’s a multitude of reasons to lean on him and be able to have him as a guy who is a staple in our rotation,” Ross said. “Obviously, he has to perform well. Every performance matters.”

‘This is Yan’s team’

As a veteran who calls his own game via PitchCom, Kyle Hendricks made sense as a low-maintenance starter to pair with rookie catcher Miguel Amaya on a day off for Yan Gomes.

But if it wasn’t already apparent from Gomes, 36, closing in on his most games played since 2018 or after Tucker Barnhart was designated for assignment, the Cubs have a clear starting catcher. Playing time behind the plate will be determined less by pitching pairings and more by playing Gomes as much as possible while keeping him fresh.

“I think Yan Gomes gives us the best chance to win,” Ross said. “I feel like this is Yan’s team. . . . Miggy will fill in, and we’ll try to find some consistency in who he catches. That could pan out.”

Amaya launched his fourth home run of the season Sunday for a decisive insurance run, so that assignment also panned out. It came with some help from the starter.

Hendricks said: “Yan was great between innings. The two of them sitting down together and seeing what [the Royals] were trying to do against me.”

A reset for the right fielder

With his third home run in the last nine games, Seiya Suzuki is hitting .344/.353/.719 during that span.

“I’ve never seen him smile running around the bases, yelling in the dugout [before],” Ross said. “I think he puts a lot on his back. He plays for a lot of people even outside this country.”

This stretch also represents Suzuki’s return to starting regularly after Ross kept him out of the lineup for four straight games in an attempt to clear his head and break the frustration of a prolonged slump.

“Honestly, it was my first time overcoming this challenge,” Suzuki said. “I’ve never experienced this before. I think it was really great for me because I was able to learn a lot of things while not playing. That can really benefit you as a player in the long run, as well. I’m glad I was able to use that time wisely.”

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