Rockies-Mets: Greg Smith Shows Colorado Why He Is More Than a Fill-In

David MartinAnalyst IApril 14, 2010

DENVER - APRIL 13:  Starting pitcher Greg Smith #27 of the Colorado Rockies delivers against the New York Mets during Major League Baseball action at Coors Field on April 13, 2010 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

He is known as "the other guy."

That's what most fans refer to him as when they talk about the Matt Holliday trade that has turned out to be a lopsided deal in the Colorado Rockies' favor.

The conversation generally goes a little like this: "Who did the Rockies get for Matt Holliday?" Answer: "Huston Street and Carlos Gonzalez...oh, and some other guy..."

That "other guy" happens to be Greg Smith, and after a rough 2009 campaign that ended with him making only seven starts and throwing fewer than 30 innings due to sickness and arm injuries.

Smith, who made the Rockies roster because of a great spring training, then was forced into the rotation when Jeff Francis went down, showed that he should not be the forgotten man in the Rockies' 11-3 victory over the Mets on Tuesday night at Coors Field.

The crafty left-hander might get used to pitching with an offense that actually knows how to score runs. In Smith's rookie campaign of 2008, he earned the dubious distinction of receiving the lowest run support of any starting pitcher in 11 years. It's tough to win games when the offense doesn't score.

The fact that Smith was easily able to slide into the rotation following Francis' unexpected soreness is a testament to how deep this Rockies club is.

At the end of spring training most clubs are trying to figure out who is going to be their fifth starter. Most of the time the debate is not about who was better in the spring, but who failed less often. The fifth spot is oftentimes a very fluid spot, in which someone might bounce in and out of the rotation. Not the Rockies—they had a guy very capable of being a starter waiting for his opportunity.

The win and the stellar performance from Smith is a huge benefit to the Rockies. Instead of having a gaping hole at the back end of the rotation and feeling the pressure to get Francis healthy again, the club can let Francis take his time and make sure that he is completely healthy before trying to return.

On Tuesday scoring runs was not a problem for the Rockies. In the third inning, with two outs, the Rockies' bats showed for the first time why they are going to be tough to deal with.
After making fans worry that the team was once again going to strand runners, Ian Stewart and Clint Barmes got hits to score two runs, then Smith decided to show why he was a designated hitter in college on days that he didn't pitch. He laced a ball down the left-field line, scoring two runs.

One Smith was on second and the other Smith, Seth, stepped to the plate and drilled a John Maine hanging breaking ball deep over the right-center wall for his first home run of the season. With the six-run third inning, the rout was on.

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