Hoyer, speaking to media prior to Thursday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, said that the team is hoping to get Smyly back on track, but that their primary focus is winning games.
“At this point, it’s likely he’s going to be pitching out of the bullpen for a bit. He was great for us early in the season. Last year in August he was amazing. He’s struggled the last couple of months and obviously we have to get him on track while also winning games. The plan right now is to put him in the bullpen, and we’ll figure out who’s going to make starts going forward.”
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Hoyer declined to comment on who will take Smyly’s place.
Smyly had thrown three consecutive scoreless innings in a relief role after being removed from the rotation following his Aug. 7 start, but his first start back on Tuesday against the Tigers was a disaster, as he gave up seven earned runs in 3.2 innings of work.
On the season, Smyly is 9-9 with a 5.28 ERA, with a 1.42 WHIP.
Prior to Wednesday’s game, Ross told the Chicago Sun-Times that he had questions about who would replace Smyly in the rotation, and that he didn’t want to act too rashly.
“He’s in there because we’re just a little short-handed right now,” he said. “It’s his first start back. Let’s give him a little bit of grace.”
As for who will replace Smyly, there are a few options available. Hayden Wesneski is 2-4 this season with a 4.46 ERA in 72.2 innings of work with the Cubs. He has struggled badly against left-handed hitters, but has been pitching significantly better of late, meaning the Cubs could perhaps give him a chance.
The Cubs could also go with Jordan Wicks in that spot. He was scheduled to start Wednesday for the Iowa Cubs, but was scratched for non-injury reasons.
He is still with the Triple-A club as of Thursday.
In 20 starts this season between Tennessee and Iowa, Wicks is 7-0 with a 3.55 ERA, with 99 strikeouts in 91.1 innings of work.
Smyly’s spot in the rotation will come up in Sunday’s series finale against the Pirates at PNC Park.