John Smoltz, a living pitching legend, is finally making his debut with the Boston Red Sox tomorrow night as they go for the "sweepage" over the Washington Nationals.
Smoltz was signed in the offseason with General Manager Theo Epstein knowing he'd be on rehab and not pitch until June, strengthening his arm back up after having right shoulder surgery in March.
He spent his entire 20-year career with the Atlanta Braves as a starter mostly and then dominant closer from 2002-2004.
Tomorrow's start will say a lot and it's actually better that his first start is against a National League ball club, since that's the only league he's ever pitched in. So with Smoltz in the mix, how big is this for the Red Sox?
It's definitely good timing with Daisuke Matsuzaka out with shoulder problems of his own, so right there, Smoltz can take his spot easily in the rotation. But what about when Dice-K returns? That is a whole other discussion about a six-man rotation, but let's jump to October for a second.
Smoltz is a big time veteran with plenty of playoff experience. He's pitched in 10 National League Division Series, nine National League Championship Series, and five World Series. His all-time playoff record is 15-4 with a 2.65 ERA, four saves, 207 innings pitched, 61 earned runs, and 194 strikeouts; but only has one World Series ring to show for it. With those numbers you'd think it'd be more.
How big of a factor can Smoltz's core experience play out come late September and October? Not trying to jump the gun, but it could be deadly and this could very well be a key reason the Red Sox will be and are a huge threat to every team in the entire league.
Hats off to John Smoltz, looking forward to tomorrow night's game.