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On Drew Smyly, Jim Leyland, & Stretching in Bed

Drew Smyly was a revelation coming out of the bullpen for the Tigers in 2013, posting a 2.31 FIP and 2.65 SIERA in 76 IP. With that number of innings, it’s obvious that he wasn’t just a LOOGY either, adopting a sort of all-or-nothing approach against righty hitters that yielded a higher K% than he achieved against lefty hitters — and generally resulted in more nothing and less all (.304 wOBA vs. righties).

An especially dominant first half by Smyly led to many to begin wondering whether the Tigers would have him stretch out as starter, especially given the middling performance of the team’s fifth starter, Rick Porcello. After all, Smyly had posted solid numbers in 94.1 IP as a starter in 2012, while Porcello — at least on the surface — was pitching poorly in the first half of 2013 (though Porcello’s 4.80 first-half ERA belied his 3.03 xFIP during the same period).

In early July, however, Tigers’ manager Jim Leyland put to rest any speculation on the matter of Smyly-as-stretched-out-second-half-starter:

Now that the proverbial but palpably painful winter has begun for the Tigers, we might begin to wonder again whether Drew Smyly will begin to stretch out 2014. Additionally, we may wonder whether he will do so on his bed as Leyland recommended, and if so, what might that look like. In fact, it brings to mind quite a number of questions about stretching, beds, bed stretches, Drew Smyly, winter, this winter specifically, death, etc. Here are some of those questions:

Apropos of very little, then, the following are crudely rendered Photoshop images meant to give us a sense of what is otherwise likely to be a private endeavor for Smyly.

Does Drew Smyly sleep in his uniform with his eyes open even in the offseason?

Why doesn’t Drew Smyly have sheets on his bed?

Don’t ask why Drew Smyly has been exed out in bold colors.

Maybe Drew Smyly is really a cat?