Found July 18, 2013 on Fox Sports Detroit:
DETROIT -- Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Drew Smyly probably wouldve made a great fireman or tightrope walker. His focus under duress also would come in handy as a Secret Service agent or high-rise window washer. Hes as cool a customer as Ive ever seen, Tigers pitching coach Jeff Jones said. Smyly faces the best hitters opponents have to offer, but the fans waiting in line for hot dogs seem more rattled. He quickly looks in for the catchers sign and throws as if theres nothing to it -- like hes lobbing stones into a lake. Ive always been that way -- laid-back and nonchalant, Smyly said. I have plenty of emotion on the inside, but I just dont show it. He just keeps taking the baseball from Tigers manager Jim Leyland and puts out the fire or keeps one from starting. Smyly, 24, and closer Joaquin Benoit have been the lone constants in Detroits bullpen. Its Smylys job to get the lead to Benoit, and Smylys seldom failed. He's 4-0 with a 1.91 ERA. With 56 23 innings logged, hes second among American League relievers. His 0.97 WHIP is third among relievers with at least 40 innings pitched, and his 58 strikeouts are tied with Toronto Blue Jays All-Star Steve Delabar for the fourth most among relievers. Hes been huge for us, Jones said. I cant imagine where wed be without Drew. Hes won a lot of games for us. With complete cool. Nothing seems to affect him, Jones said. Hes very professional and looks the same every day, no matter what the situation is that he comes into. And that doesnt change, no matter what happened when he was on the mound. He comes into the dugout, and you cant tell how hes done. Thats very, very rare -- especially for a young guy. Smyly, out of the University of Arkansas, was Detroits second-round pick in 2010. The lanky lefty started last season and would like to start again, but his Game 1 showing in the ALCS against the New York Yankees foreshadowed his temporary move to the bullpen. Smyly pitched 2 13 scoreless innings and got the victory after the Tigers squandered a 4-0 lead in the ninth. With Smyly holding the Yankees in check, the Tigers finally prevailed in the 12th. That was exciting, Smyly said. I couldnt believe it. To get that opportunity and pick up my teammates meant a lot. Only he didnt show it. Hes been great, Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez said. Drew looks like a 10-year veteran out there. "It is surprising -- a guy that young doing what hes doing. Thats not easy. Tigers catcher Alex Avila was asked if hes ever seen Smyly show emotion on the field. No, Avila said with an incredulous stare. Not at all, ever. Avila said Smylys nonchalance can be misconstrued. I would not say that hes oblivious to the situation, Avila said. But does Smyly make him wonder? Yeah, Avila said with a smile. But now that hes learning the league, he gets more involved with what to throw in certain situations. Benoit grinned before adding, Hes just Drew, and because he does what he does, theres no need to change. Jones said the cutter is the pitch that makes Smyly special. Drew throws mostly fastballs and cutters, with a few curves, Jones said. We put in a lot of work in the offseason and spring training on the changeup, with the possibility of him being one of our starters. "Its the pitch he was lacking as a starter. Its shelved for now, but he throws it when he warms up so he doesnt lose the feel. The cutter has been a really big pitch for him this year, and it was inconsistent last year. But we adjusted his grip, and he picked it up immediately. He gets it in on the hands (of batters), and its become an out pitch for him. And he locates his fastball, between 90 and 94 mph, very well. Smyly began throwing the cutter -- the signature pitch of all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera -- accidentally while pitching for the Razorbacks. I had a blister and couldn't throw my fastball with the usual grip, Smyly said. So I tried to get on the side of it and developed a little cutter. Jonesy helped me tune it up so I could really trust it. Philadelphia Phillies All-Star Cliff Lee, who also pitched at Arkansas, gets an assist on developing Smylys cutter. I tried to pick it up from Cliff Lee, Smyly said. I asked him for tips. Its just a feel pitch, and mines more of a slider, actually. But his biggest adjustment has been converting from starter to reliever. Smyly was 4-3 with a 3.99 ERA as a rookie in 2012, when 18 of 23 appearances were starts. Rick Porcello won the spring-training competition for the final rotation spot, but Leyland kept Smyly as a reliever. Starting pitchers are more routine-oriented, Jones said, and we had some concerns about him coming out of the bullpen. But he took to it like a duck to water. Said Smyly: I didnt have a choice, and I wanted to help this team win and be in the major leagues. Im still adjusting to it -- finding the right times to work out and rest. "But I had to adjust or I wouldnt have been here very long. He hopes to return to the rotation, though. Its their say, Smyly said, and I just want to help the team win. But one day in the future, yeah, I want to start. There wasnt a hint of demand in his comment, and he simply shrugged his shoulders. Rolling with the punches fits into his personality. Im a couch potato in the offseason, said Smyly, who lives near Little Rock, Ark. I play a lot of golf, but like to chill and watch movies. "I like comedy, action, anything thats good. Im in line at the box office a lot. Smyly said both of his parents, Todd and Toni, plan everything and are anxious by nature. I dont know why I am like I am, Smyly said, but I just go with the flow.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Al Avila remembers the first time he saw Cabrera play

DETROIT -- When Miguel Cabrera was 16 years old, you could already see glimpses of the player he is today. Tigers assistant general manager Al Avila was working for the Florida Marlins back then and he distinctly remembers the first time he saw Cabrera in his native Venezuela. "It was around late August, early September, he was 16 years old," Avila said. "I saw him...

Game 2013.95: Tigers at Royals

Detroit Tigers: 52-42, 1st Place (1.5 ahead of Cleveland).  Baseball is back! The Tigers head into Kansas City to kick off the 2nd half of the season (which, with only 68 games remaining, is actually almost 60% over). Which also means we have less than 2 weeks remaining before the July 31 trade deadline. The Tigers, who seem to have lost Octavio Dotel, have jettisoned Jose Valverde...

Lincecum to Tigers for bullpen help?

Three intriguing questions and story lines connected to the Detroit Tigers as they resume play after the All-Star break: What needs to be done with the bullpen? If your answer has something to do with dynamite, you're only partially correct. Joaquin Benoit and Drew Smyly provide consistent late-inning prowess, and Luke Putkonen is looking reliable in early relief. But questions...

Detroit Tigers in 1st place, yet not comfortable

Justin Verlander spent all sorts of time over the last couple months trying to figure out what was wrong and why he was no longer dominating hitters with his terrific fastball. Then he reached the All-Star break - with 10 wins and a 3.50 ERA. ''I wasn't where I'd like to be pretty much the whole half, but I was able to battle and end up with some pretty decent numbers...

Prince Fielder legs out a triple then moves a lot of dirt sliding into third at the All-Star Game (VIDEO)

Prince Fielder was all business during Tuesday night’s All-Star Game from Citi Field in New York. During the 9th inning the Tigers first baseman “motored” his way around the bases after his base hit to right field got passed a diving Carlos Gomez. Fielder eventually found his way to third with a head first slide only end up being stranded as his American League counterparts...

Detroit Tigers First-Half Grades: Starting Pitching Stars While Bullpen Earns Frustrating Incomplete

Keith Allison, Flickr At 52-42, the Detroit Tigers and their fans have far less to complain about at baseball season’s midway point in 2013 than in many years past. Their team is in first place, had six All-Stars shine on Tuesday night and looks to be in fantastic shape for a solid final three months of the season, so what’s not to like? A few things, perhaps. What has led to...

Prince Fielder Gets a Triple, Runs Like a Gazelle…A Fat One (GIF)

During last night's MLB All-Star Game, Prince Fielder managed to reach third base. No, we're serious. He chugged his way around the bases...
THAT'S COLD

Cabrera messes with Pedroia in intros

Tigers third baseman stands 6’4″, 250 pounds.  Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia stands 5’8″ and 165 pounds.  During the All Star pre-game introductions, Cabrera had a little fun at Pedroia’s expense. The look on Pedroia’s face – “HEY! WTF?!” via SB Nation [GIF via SB Nation]

Prince Fielder Hits A Triple While Tim McCarver Recites "Enter Sandman" #ASG

Cringeworthy: Prince Fielder hitting A triple while McCarver recited "Enter Sandman" [Deadspin] **Follow us on Twitter, View Blitz Viral Videos, or Return to BobsBlitz.com.Follow us on Twitter. Subscribe or Return to Bob's Blitz.

Miguel Cabrera pokes fun of Dustin Pedroia during pre All-Star Game intros (GIF)

Miguel Cabrera certainly likes to have his fun during games and tonight it came at the expense of Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia. During the pre All-Star Game introductions at Citi Field, Miguel Cabrera came out of the dugout after being introduced giving high-five’s to his American League teammates. However when the 6’4″ Cabrera came to the 5’8″ Pedroia the reining...

Tigers triple-replay Thursday

Relive three of the most memorable Tigers games of the first half of the 2013 season Thursday on FOX Sports Detroit. 2 p.m.: Yankees at Tigers (April 5) -- Prince Fielder's three-run homer highlights an 8-3 victory on Opening Day at Comerica Park. 5 p.m.: Twins at Tigers (May 24) -- Anibal Sanchez sets a Tigers record by striking out 12 in a 6-0 victory. 8 p.m.: Red Sox...

What Inspired Prince Fielder To Go For 3 In Last Night's MLB All-Star Game?

The Big Leagues Click to find out!

And Now, Tim McCarver Reciting Metallica While Prince Fielder Legs Out A Triple

Because sometimes life lobs you the wonderfully absurd, here’s Prince Fielder hitting a triple in last night’s MLB All-Star Game, and Tim McCarver reciting however much he knows of Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’ while it happens. He should’ve done this the entire game. I wanted to hear a “whisky in the jar-o” reference for Miguel Cabrera. (video via Deadspin)- Follow...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.