LAKELAND, Fla. -- Not only did Drew Smyly grow up following Cliff Lee as a fellow Arkansan, he modeled his game after Lee's as a fellow left-hander with a similar assortment of pitches. Others have noted they have the same quiet aggressiveness that helped Lee become one of the best lefties in baseball.
So when Smyly learned he'll be starting opposite Lee on Monday when the Tigers visit the Phillies in Clearwater, he was smiling. He'll be focused on his own game as he tries to take the first step towards winning a rotation spot back, but he might spend some time watching his counterpart too.
"He's a good one to try to steal some notes from," Smyly said Saturday morning. "We have the same type of style. Pretty much our pitches are all the same. I like watching his games."
Smyly and Lee share the same agent and worked out together on occasion while Smyly was pitching at the University of Arkansas. They most recently talked over the offseason.