Phillies hurler Drew Smyly erases some doubts for the moment

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 21: Drew Smyly #18 of the Philadelphia Phillies delivers a pitch in the first inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on July 21, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 21: Drew Smyly #18 of the Philadelphia Phillies delivers a pitch in the first inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on July 21, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

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In any event, there he was, facing among others in the Pirates lineup, Bryan Reynolds, a rookie wunderkind hitting .340, and Josh Bell, the league leader in RBI despite not driving in a run all month or some such.

Armed with an assortment of pitches, a cutter, four-seamer, change, and (baby) curve that all dive toward the dirt, Smyly pretty much handcuffed the Bucs. He may have thrown a fastball that reached 93 mph, but I didn’t see it.

Maybe the Pirates didn’t have enough time to “do analytics” on the pitcher; maybe Smyly knows how to pitch. Time will tell.

After six innings, including a 25-minute rain delay while the Phillies were batting in the fourth, Smyly left. He had given up one run and four hits. He had thrown 96 pitches, 62 for strikes, and got 16 missed swings, eight on that baby curve. In his last inning of work, outfielder Adam Haseley gunned down Starling Marte trying to stretch a single into a double (which he had done but momentarily moved off second base).

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And then, somewhat unexpectedly, the Phillies bullpen held, and not for three innings, but for five, and the Fightin’s had a 2-1 win. Although Drew Smyly didn’t get that win, there was clear, founded hope things might improve in the Phillies rotation.