Nice blog entry today by ESPN’s Buster Olney regarding reliever Brad Ziegler. I’ll be honest, I didn’t pay much attention to Ziegler during the spring or even when he first came up. But he’s become a huge player in the A’s bullpen, and Olney outlines.
I have noticed, however, that Ziegler has become a bit more flaky when it comes to his other hobby. Ziegler hasn’t posted on athleticsnation.com nearly as often as he did in recent years. I talked to him about that, and he said it’s simply because of the time consumed doing his day job. Seems like a really good dude. He’s overcome a skull fracture to make to the big leagues, and perhaps because of that, he has a perspective that other players don’t.
Anyway, pay attention to this guy.
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?