The Marlins once again get a solid performance out of pitcher Caleb Smith as they beat the Cleveland Indians 4-2 at Marlins Park on Wednesday night.
It appears Miami Marlins pitcher Caleb Smith has become a one-man army on the mound. The lefty and fifth starter in the rotation has not only become the most reliable arm on the staff, but he is also becoming one of the best arms in the National League.
On a team that is now 9-21 following a 4-2 win over Cleveland on Wednesday night to even the two-game series, Smith is now 3-0 and has the look of a Cy Young contender. It’s only fitting that a trade that we rarely speak of at the start of the Derek Jeter regime could become the one that helps this team the most.
Acquiring Smith from the New York Yankees in Jeter’s first trade as CEO of the organization (along with Garrett Cooper) has been an act of highway robbery to date. What Smith is doing, less than a year removed from an injury that placed him on the IL is unheard of. Best of all, the Marlins are reaping the benefits.
"“I’m feeling real confident,” said Smith. “I feel like I can throw strikes when I want to. I feel like I can throw all my pitches for strikes whenever I need to. And the defense behind me definitely helps that.”"
It’s that kind of confidence the Marlins need every time he takes the mound and hopefully pushes his teammates to follow in line. If Miami is going to pull itself out of the cellar in the National League East, pitching will be the calling card. So far, Smith has had the answer.
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"“After holding the Indians to one run on four hits in seven innings, Smith lowered his ERA to 2.00 and won his third straight decision. Miami (9-21) has won each of his last four starts,” writes Joe Frisaro. “On Wednesday, the left-hander handled a team that’s been a playoff fixture the past few seasons.”"
To give you an idea of how consistent he has been this season, this is the third straight start where Smith has had eight strikeouts. He has done this four times this season. He threw seven innings, which is his most since matching that total May 28, 2018, in a win over the Padres.
He is getting better each time manager Don Mattingly gives him the ball.
"“I don’t think you see the ball real well off Caleb,” Mattingly said. “He’s one of those guys who hides the ball a little bit. He’s a little sneaky.”"
The hide-and-seek in Smith’s delivery was apparent on Wednesday night. He threw 92 pitches which induced 21 swinging strikes. Of those pitches, 21 were changeups with five swings for strikes. He added a slider and four-seam fastball that averaged 91.8 mph and maxed at 93.5 mph.