Going back to about 10 days ago, it seemed that Andy Oliver had things on lock down for the 5th starter spot. Two starts later, and things have evolved into a race once again. Duane Below held his own against a tough Yankees team his last start out, and all spring long Drew Smyly has shown to be pretty solid.
Today could be a big day for Drew Smyly.
With Andy Oliver coming back to the pack, and Duane Below not being the most convincing option around, Smyly with a strong performance today could get himself into an even better position. But it’s not always about performance, as is being made clear by Tigers management. They have come out and repeatedly said they are looking at everything, and will come to a decision together. What that means, we can’t necessarily be sure. None of the 5th starter candidates have Brandon Inge type stature, so I would’ve thought their ability to get outs would be important.
Smyly has shown that he has the ability to get outs this spring. In his 8 innings of work, Smyly has only allowed 4 hits and one earned run. He has also struck out 7 batters. Numbers wise he compares favorably, but the number of innings that he has thrown suggests that Tigers management is trying to hold him back a little in hopes that Duane Below or Andy Oliver took control.
Nobody has taken control, so the door is open. Today, Drew Smyly has the chance to kick that open.