After coming off an injury that sidelined him for more than half of the 2018 season, will the Miami Marlins limit the innings Caleb Smith throws in 2019?
The Marlins will ask pitcher Caleb Smith to once again come in a stop the bleeding of a five-game losing streak tonight when the ballclub faces the Philadelphia Phillies from Marlins Park. Miami lost the opener to the Phillies 9-1 last night.
In the 11 innings that Smith has been on the mound this year, he has given up three walks and struck out 15 batters. The Marlins have found a gem in Smith, who like other starting pitchers this season, has pitched well and times so far in 2019 but have been let down by the lack of run support from the starting lineup.
Smith’s season was cut short because of a torn lat last season that required surgery. He worked this past offseason to get ready for Spring Training, returning to the Marlins facility in Jupiter, Florida, proving once again he could become a dominant starter on a staff of young arms. Now, as it appears that he is completely healed and throwing heat, a fan asked the all-important question.
More from Marlins News
- Miami Marlins need to spend to win
- Miami Marlins can’t afford to botch this trade
- Miami Marlins news: the New York Mets are a risky threat
- Miami Marlins keep missing out on stars
- Miami Marlins rumors: New closer?
Will the Marlins hold Smith to a specific amount of innings this season while protecting him from injury once again.
Joe Frisaro of MLB.com had an answer.
"“The Marlins haven’t given a definitive innings plan or range, but clearly the left-hander will be closely monitored,” Frisaro wrote. “Smith had surgery to repair a torn left lat muscle last July 9, and he finished last year with 77 1/3 innings. A rough guess is the 27-year-old could end up throwing about 130 innings.”"
The organization had enough confidence in Smith this spring, who looked phenomenal at times on the mound in the Grapefruit League, to not only send Wei-Yin Chen to the bullpen but helped make the decision to designate veteran starter Dan Straily for assignment a bit easier.
If anything, the Marlins want Smith to show he can dominate on the mound, but will also show caution in making sure he is not throwing too many innings or in a game under unnecessary conditions.
"“The most innings Smith has logged is 135 in the Minor Leagues in 2015,” Frisaro added. “To Smith’s credit, he’s recovered nicely from the surgery, and proved he was healthy and deserving of making the Opening Day rotation.”"
Smith is currently the team’s fifth starter, but that could change if he continues to show his ability to strike out batters and the growth of Miami’s other young starters falter in their development.
Prior to suffering his injury last year, Smith had posted a 5-6 record and 4.19 ERA. He struck out 88 batters in 77.1 innings.