Well, apparently Greg Smith found the “it” that had been missing. Been in the middle of another move — that’s three in four months now, and hopefully, the final one for a while — so was only able to catch the latter end of Smith’s rebound effort against the Angels, but it was just what the A’s needed for their series opener against the Angels. And with Rich Harden going again today, they should be in great shape.
I covered Smith’s last start against Philadelphia, and while he wasn’t bad, he wasn’t real good, either. I mentioned to manager Bob Geren after the game that it seemed to him as if Smith hadn’t been as sharp throughout June as he had been in all of April and most of May. Geren agreed with me but also said that he felt Smith was pitching “well enough to win.”
Smith, when I said the same thing, also agreed with me. But it was nothing he could put his finger on, other than he was spending an awful lot of time in the stretch and putting the leadoff hitter on a lot. Last night, he retired the leadoff hitter eight times in nine innings.
Pitchers like Smith are kind of strange, because even when they dazzle, their stuff isn’t so incredulous that the hitters look overmatched. And when they get hit hard, it often looks like their just a tad off. That’s kind of how it goes with Smith, so I don’t know if this is the start of a good trend or what. But what I could tell watching last night is that he seemed a touch more aggressive, a touch more confident. We’ll see where it leads, but it’s not like the guy has embarrassed himself up this point.
Now, Joe Blanton, that’s another story for another time.
How ’bout giving me your thoughts on Greg Smith and what he projects to being long term?