Anytime a hot pitching prospect gets an early taste of the major leagues because of a short term call-up, the results either go one way or the other. The young pitcher usually either does wonderful or struggles mightily. The San Diego Padres sent prospect Burch Smith to the mound in place of injured Clayton Richard against the Tampa Bay Rays. Smith looked okay in a scoreless first but the second inning was disastrous for him.
Consider something like this a trial by fire. It was known before he came in that Smith likes throwing his fastball a lot. That is fine in the minor leagues but at the big show you have to mix in other pitches. These guys at the pro level do not mind sitting on fastballs and that is what the Rays did on Saturday to Smith. James Loney almost knocked the ball through the back of the stadium for the first blast off of Smith and the route was on; or was it?
Smith didn’t make it out of the second inning but the Padres have no quit in them lately. They fought back and a grand slam tied the game. They even had the lead going into the ninth but lost on a heartbreaking two-run walk-off homerun by Evan Longoria. For the Padres, this tough loss is their second to the Rays in as many days. They will plan to come out and salvage one game of the series if they can in order to keep their good playing streak going.