On-base machine Smith to lead off

To give Dexter Fowler a day off, the Rockies are starting Seth Smith as the leadoff man for Thursday’s deciding game of three with the Rays. Smith will play left field, and Carlos Gonzalez will play the centre field that Fowler usually roams. The numbers certainly support putting Smith atop the order.

Smith’s pinch-hit single Wednesday night improved his on-base percentage for he season to .423. He has reached in 14 of his 26 pinch-hit appearances.

“First and foremost, he knows what a strike and what a ball looks like, and he will not expand his strike zone,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “He doesn’t chase a lot.”

For a young player, Smith has a veteran’s knack for pinch-hitting and situational hitting.

“I see an an awareness as to what his responsibilities are for a given situation,” Tracy said. “For example, you’re leading an inning off as a pinch-hitter off the bench, we’re down by a run. He’ll show you the presence of mind of understanding, ‘I’m here to do anything I can do to get to first base.'”

Here are today’s lineups:

Rays

B.J. Upton, CF

Carl Crawford, LF

Evan Longoria, 3B

Carlos Pena, 1B

Ben Zobrist, 2B

Gabe Gross, RF

Jason Bartlett, SS

Dioner Navarro, C

Matt Garza, P

Rockies

Seth Smith, LF

Clint Barmes, 2B

Todd Helton, 1B

Brad Hawpe, RF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Ian Stewart, 3B

Carlos Gonzalez, CF

Paul Phillips, C

Ubaldo Jimenez, P

 

1 Comment

I asked Smith on Tuesday heading into the opener with Tampa if there was any clubhouse superstitions going in with the streak and he smiled and said “No we are just going out and playing.” I thought it was pretty telling of him and the squad right now. Good to see that confidence coming from even the newest guys.
Tom
http://rockymountainway.mlblogs.com

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