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:
no plans to change Smyly's role – "I'm not stretching him out. He can stretch out during the winter – on his bed" #Tigers Leyland
— Tom Gage (@Tom_Gage) July 9, 2013
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:
- Will Drew Smyly stretch in bed?
- Will Drew Smyly do yoga in bed, and can he do Bikram yoga in bed without starting on fire?
- Are winter stretches different than summer or spring ones?
- Why did the Tigers have to lose to the Red Sox?
- Will Jim Leyland be there to help Drew Smyly stretch?
- What is the best time of day to stretch and who is the best stretcher on the Tigers team and why (please include three professional references)?
- What sets you apart from other candidates for this position?
- Why don’t you just kill yourself?
- What are some other places to stretch that Jim Leyland would recommend for those who wanted to stretch out to be a starter, but don’t want to stretch in bed?
- Is Jim Leyland lenient or strict about where and how and how much his players stretch?
- Is there literature authored by Jim Leyland on the subject?
- Would a futon count as a bed in this case? Would a really big pillow count?
- Is there anything in the rules that says a snail can’t stretch out to be a starting pitcher?
- Should Drew Smyly do at least a little something every day to stretch himself out as a starter this winter?
- Does Drew Smyly just give 110% while stretching in bed or does he kind of lollygag?
- Has Jim Leyland read anything by Marcel Proust? Does he have a favorite?
- Is Remembrance of Things Past a good book to read in bed in winter while doing some stretches, Jim Leyland?
- Would you say that some of the volumes of Remembrance of Things Past are better than other volumes for reading in bed during winter while doing some stretching, Jim Leyland?
- Just me and Jim Leyland and Drew Smyly, passing a cigarette around while stretching in winter, none of us ever having read any Proust.
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.