Smith shows 'extra gear' in D-backs debut

September 12th, 2020

made his D-backs debut Friday night and it was a good one.

The left-hander, acquired from the Marlins at the Trade Deadline, allowed one run over three innings as the D-backs beat the Mariners, 4-3, at Chase Field.

It was just the second outing of the year for Smith, who pitched three innings on July 25 for the Marlins before testing positive for COVID-19 and missing a significant period of time.

Smith was still in the process of working his way back at the time of the trade and he continued getting simulated game work in at the D-backs alternate site where his last outing was three innings and 50 pitches.

With Smith at 40 pitches through three innings, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo considered sending him back out for another inning, but decided to instead stick with the plan to keep him to three innings.

As a result, Lovullo learned a little something about his new pitcher -- he doesn’t like to come out of games. Smith, Lovullo said, showed a little frustration when he got the news he was coming out.

That’s the kind of attitude Lovullo has long loved to see from his players.

“I think he's going to fit right into the mold and he’s going to fit right into what it means to be an Arizona Diamondback,” Lovullo said. “He loves to compete. I like it when guys don’t want to come out of the game. That means they got that extra gear and that extra ingredient. It means they want to go out there and do things for as long as they possibly can.”

Smith allowed just one hit, a home run by Dylan Moore, and a walk to go with three strikeouts.

“Yeah, I knew the game plan coming into the game, I knew I had three innings,” Smith said. “But if I start something, I like to finish it. That’s just my mentality. I’m always going to ask for more, but at the end of the day, it’s not my call. It felt great to get back on the field. It’s been a long time coming. I’m ecstatic to be with this organization. I’m really happy with where I’m at. I thought I threw the ball decent today. The most important thing was being out there healthy.”

Alex Young, whose place in the rotation Smith took, pitched 5 1/3 innings of two-run ball and picked up the win. Stefan Chrichton retired the final two batters to earn his first career save.

Young wanted to keep his routine similar to when he started games, but there was only one challenge: Where could he long toss with the game going on?

The answer was the long alley outside of Chase Field that runs next to the railroad tracks. Young played long toss there with assistant pitching coordinator/pitching analyst Ross Seaton.

“It was a little different,” Young said. “But I mean once I got on the mound it felt the same in terms of just going out there and competing.”

It was the second win a row for the D-backs, who had lost 18 of 20 games prior to that, and for the first time in a while everything seemed to go according to plan.

“It was the type of game where we kind of scripted it out and talked over the best-case scenario and the best plan moving forward to win a baseball game and it was pretty close to some of the conversations that we had internally before the game,” Lovullo said.