A week and a half after he took a perfect game into the eighth inning, Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Drew Smyly continued to impress Monday night, in the Cubs’ 5-1 victory over the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park in Washington D.C.
Smyly allowed just one run off six hits and no walks over seven innings, striking out two.
Smyly was roughed up by the Cincinnati Reds in his first start of the season, April 3 at the Great American Ballpark. The Reds tagged seven runs off Smyly on nine hits, two walks and two home runs. Since then, the 33-year-old veteran has come into his own, allowing a total of just five runs, 17 hits and four walks across five starts and 30.1 innings pitched, good for a 1.50 ERA and 0.70 WHIP.
Just over a decade ago, Smyly was one of baseball’s best prospects, while he was coming up through the Detroit Tigers farm system. Smyly excelled early in his career, logging 3.24 ERA over 25 starts with the Tampa Bay Rays and Detroit Tigers in 2014. But the promising lefty struggled to sustain success as he battled injuries, eventually needing Tommy John surgery. Over a five-year period from 2017 through 2021, Smyly bounced around the league, spending short stints with the Seattle Mariners, Cubs, Texas Rangers, Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves.
The Cubs signed Smyly to a two-year, $10 million deal before 2018, while he was recovering from Tommy John surgery. Smyly pitched just one inning in the minors that season. In November, the club dealt him to the Rangers for a player to be named later.
Four years later, Smyly received another opportunity with the Cubs. He signed a one-year deal before 2022, and put together his best season since 2014. Upon the conclusion of the season, the Cubs re-upped with Smyly, signing him to a two-year, $19 million contract in December.
Now, he’s pitching as good as he ever has at the professional level. For the last month, he’s been one of the best pitchers in the National League.
Smyly’s performance Monday night led the Cubs to a 5-1 victory in Washington D.C., improving the club’s record to 15-13.