Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Smith falters early, regroups in latest rotation bid

Special to MLB.com

TAMPA, Fla. -- In order to make his latest case that he belongs in the Marlins' rotation, left-hander Caleb Smith would have to face his old team. That meant going through a Yankees lineup that is among the most feared in the Majors. It didn't go well.

Smith gave up five runs on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts over three innings. He surrendered two powerful homers in what ended up being an 8-5 loss to the Yankess on Sunday at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

View Full Game Coverage

TAMPA, Fla. -- In order to make his latest case that he belongs in the Marlins' rotation, left-hander Caleb Smith would have to face his old team. That meant going through a Yankees lineup that is among the most feared in the Majors. It didn't go well.

Smith gave up five runs on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts over three innings. He surrendered two powerful homers in what ended up being an 8-5 loss to the Yankess on Sunday at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

View Full Game Coverage

"Everybody likes to see zeros up on the board, but in Spring Training, I'm more working on stuff, command and everything," said Smith, who threw 75 pitches. "But at the end of the day, you want to see the results, too."

A four-run first inning started rough when Brett Gardner hit a leadoff single, with Smith not covering first base in time. However, he showed some poise by getting Aaron Judge to fly out to right. But on an 0-2 count, Greg Bird delivered a no-doubt laser to right field that easily cleared the fence. Former Marlin Giancarlo Stanton drew a walk and Gary Sanchez grounded to short, but Miami couldn't complete the inning-ending double play. Singles by Didi Gregorius and Neil Walker helped plate the next two runs.

Video: MIA@NYY: Bird belts one to right for a two-run homer

Smith actually recovered nicely in the second, recording a perfect inning by fanning Gardner and forcing Judge to strike out looking. The third continued to go well with back-to-back strikeouts of Bird and Stanton before Sanchez blasted a ball to left for his fourth homer of the spring.

"You can't make bad pitches with these guys," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of the up-and-down outing. "If you make pitches, you can get outs."

While the stat sheet in the end may not be as pretty as Smith had hoped, there was reason for optimism, such as striking out four straight batters through the heart of New York's lineup.

"That was huge for me, coming off that bad inning that I had," Smith said. "It just kind of showed them that, 'Hey, I'm here.'"

Video: MIA@NYY: Smith K's Stanton, fourth strikeout of day

Mattingly added that he liked how Smith responded in the second.

"I thought he was a little jacked up where he threw his pitches and his breaking ball didn't break for him," Mattingly said. "In the [second], he recovered and threw the ball a lot better after that. It gives a better picture of who he is."

Spring Training info

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

And outside of the final box score, more can be found. Mattingly had said prior to the outing that a large focus for Smith would be better utilization of his four-seam fastball in order to set up his offspeed pitches. Smith felt he did that well on Sunday.

"They weren't hitting the fastball at all -- I think every hit they got was on offspeed," Smith said. "I think it was mainly sliders that I left up, and that's mainly what I was working on. They got better the last two innings, but the one to Bird was just spinning and he squared it up."

Mattingly was also pleased with the way Smith used his fastball and responded after the first inning.

"He hit 95 [mph] and for us, that's a little higher than we see," Mattingly said. "It tells you he's probably a little excited. It's one of those outings you're looking more for just the one result. It was nice to see him bounce back and regroup and make a lot more better pitches."

Greg Zeck is a contributor to MLB.com.

Miami Marlins, Caleb Smith