There is a high likelihood Will Smith winds up in Cleveland, and not for an Indians push toward the playoffs.
“Somebody’s going to have to go” to the All-Star Game from the Giants, as manager Bruce Bochy aptly put it last week, and it is hard to beat perfection, Smith being 18-for-18 in save opportunities after escaping the ninth against the Brewers on Saturday.
It was the fourth time Smith had worked in five days, and he admitted afterward he could use a rest. Bochy did not want to have to use his finisher, but the situation called for it.
For a Tommy John survivor who’s already thrown 28 2/3 innings this year — he was at 17 2/3 innings through this point last season after returning late from surgery — it would be understandable if Smith were wary about using his arm at the All-Star Game and would prefer a break.
Doesn’t sound like it.
“You definitely play to be one of the best, to be considered one of the best. I feel like if you get [an All-Star nod], it’s a great honor,” Smith told KNBR on Sunday, before the Giants hosted the Brewers for their series and homestand finale. “You can still get some rest. It’s also a nice way to stay sharp and just roll on to the second half and try to keep things going the way you have them going.”
In the first glimpse at the NL All-Star voting, the Giants had just one position player in the top 10 at his position, but Buster Posey will not make it. The Giants’ powerful bullpen has been their best asset and Smith the crown jewel, a valuable trade piece if the 30-38 Giants revert to their losing ways.
But if he is still sporting the orange and black on July 9, he’s in line to represent the team at Progressive Field.
“It’d be cool. It means my hard work has kind of paid off,” said Smith, who missed the entire 2017 season after UCL surgery. “It’d be a cool feeling, but we haven’t really gotten that far yet. So, you just kind of keep your head down, keep moving, keep trying to win games.”
Bochy said Smith would not pitch Sunday. The manager said he would pick his closer based on matchups.
On Father’s Day, Bochy remembered the moment in September 2014 when he looked toward his bullpen and called for the righty: his son, Brett Bochy.
He became the first manager to give his son the ball out of the pen.
“It’s right up there with winning the World Series for me,” Bochy said. “When I think of my favorite moments, my best moments, my most memorable moments in this game, that’s right up there.”
For more Giants videos, click here.