Drew Smyly sees similarities between Mariners and 2012 Tigers

Mar 27, 2017, 6:05 AM | Updated: 11:34 am
Drew Smyly, Mariners...
Lefty Drew Smyly will likely be the Mariners' fourth or fifth starter when the season starts. (AP)

Less than two years after being drafted in the second round in 2010 by Detroit, Drew Smyly found himself with in big leagues, pitching in high-leverage roles for a World Series-bound team. The Tigers’ rotation included the talented arms of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello while the lineup had big bats like Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Torii Hunter.

“To be around those guys, it felt like an All-Star team every day and you really got that sense of what it takes to win, how bad the city wants it, how bad everybody in that locker room wants it,” Smyly told “Brock and Salk” on Friday.

Mariners notebook: Who is No. 2 in the starting rotation?

Despite being swept by the Giants that year in the World Series, that 2012 Tigers team was in the midst of a consistent string of postseason baseball. The good news for Mariners fans: Smyly said he feels a similar vibe and talent level in the Mariners’ clubhouse as that star-studded group in Detroit.

“Very similar. I got that sense right when I stepped foot in here that it was a very confident bunch, everybody knew what we were here to do,” Smyly said. “The expectations are high and I think everybody knows that; I think everybody feels it and they want that. I think that’s a good thing to have high expectations. We know how good we can be. When you’re playing with such high-caliber players like (Robinson) Cano, and (Nelson) Cruz and Felix (Hernandez) and … it just goes down the line.

“It really makes the game fun. It’s exciting for the fans, it’s exciting for the players because we know every night, we should win, we can win. We just have to take that mentality out there and take care of business on the field.”

Smyly made the playoffs in 2013 and was traded to Tampa Bay during the 2014 season. The Marines acquired the 27-year-old lefty this offseason in a trade for a trio of prospects. Despite setting a career-highs in 2016 with 30 starts, Smyly had a relatively disappointing season but finished the year strong: going 5-1 with a 3.73 ERA over his final 12 starts.

Smyly allowed five runs over four innings in Sunday’s Cactus League game against the Reds, which was only his second outing this spring. He pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowing one unearned run and striking out eight during his one start (matched up against Felix Hernandez) for the USA squad that won the World Baseball Classic. He called the experience an honor that he will “never forget” and one that got his blood pumping for October.

“It felt like a playoff game, it felt like a playoff atmosphere,” he said. “Like I said, every game you were locked in from pitch to pitch and you really wanted it. You wanted to win.”

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