Chris Smith, tonight's Oakland starting pitcher, is not, as far as I know, a person in the witness protection program, although that's the kind of name that could certainly hide out anonymously. Being a professional baseball player would put a bit of a damper on being anonymous, of course.
Get this, though: Smith, at age 36, will be making just his fifth ever MLB start tonight. It's true. He was drafted all the way back in 2002, debuted in 2008, and didn't pitch at the MLB level at all from 2011-15. He's back, though, and now he's in the Athletics rotation with an ERA closer to 5 than it is to 4.
You should not be surprised by the further revelation that, according to Fangraphs, Smith's fastball has averaged 85.4 miles per hour. In light of the awful offense we saw from the Orioles in Anaheim, this is not encouraging. This is the kind of pitcher who will strike out nine Orioles batters in seven innings. Unless he's not.
The O's did shuffle the lineup a bit for tonight. Chris Davis is nowhere to be seen, while Mark Trumbo is dumped down to sixth. Adam Jones slots in as the cleanup man, and taking his place at the top of the O's lineup is Tim "Swaggy T" Beckham. Short of getting no-hit, they can't do much worse than they did yesterday.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||OAKLAND A'S|
|Tim Beckham - SS||Rajai Davis - CF|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Marcus Semien - SS|
|Jonathan Schoop - 2B||Jed Lowrie - 2B|
|Adam Jones - CF||Khris Davis - DH|
|Trey Mancini - 1B||Ryon Healy - 1B|
|Mark Trumbo - DH||Chad Pinder - RF|
|Seth Smith - LF||Matt Chapman - 3B|
|Welington Castillo - C||Mark Canha - LF|
|Joey Rickard - RF||Dustin Garneau - C|
|Wade Miley - LHP||Chris Smith - RHP|