Good Monday morning
Greetings — here is the Reds lineup vs. the A’s.
Manager Dusty Baker was still thinking about the end of Sunday’s game when he watched Jordan Smith blow a 5-1 lead after getting the first two outs in the top of the ninth vs. the White Sox. Chicago notched four hits and four runs and the game ended in a 5-5 tie.
“It was like watching a kid get beat up,” Baker said. “You want him to learn a lesson from it but you don’t want him to get beat up too badly.”
A couple of times, Smith was one strike away from ending the game.
“It was his game. We didn’t have anybody warming up. You learn more from bad outings than you do good ones.”
Smith, drafted in the sixth round of the 2006 Draft, has been a starter his entire time in the organization. But Baker sees Smith transitioning to a reliever, possibly a closer down the road. Smith was given chances to finish Friday’s game vs. the Dodgers too.
“He has a really good sinker and he’s working on a better slider and off-speed pitch,” Baker said. “He’s got one of the heaviest sinkers in camp.”
Smith will be on the bus trip to Tucson when the Reds face the Diamondbacks.
“I think he’s got the stuff,” Baker said. “This is when you find out what a kid is made of. It’s difficult to do. The biggest thing in the life of a reliever is to forget yesterday. That’s the toughest lesson to learn.”
Both Mike Leake and Travis Wood are scheduled to see action today vs. Oakland. Both have had sensational springs to this point but have been seen as only outside contenders for the fifth spot on the rotation. Baker was asked if either of them had legitimate chances.
“I don’t know,” Baker said. “This is Leake’s first Spring Training, period, and Wood’s first Major League Spring Training. It’s like pitch first and then we’ll see what’s happening. Don’t worry about making the team. Don’t worry about not making the team. Don’t worry about nothing. Just pitch. That’s what they’re doing.
“If they’re not here when we break, they’ll be here pretty soon. If they keep pitching like they’re pitching, they’ll be here sooner than most of us probably think about, if there’s room or if other guys aren’t doing the job, different variables.”
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