Two years ago, with bullpen help being one of the highest needs on the club, Dombrowski traded for Carson Smith from the Mariners. Right off the bat the Red Sox had high hopes for him. In 2015 he finished with a 2.31 ERA after striking out 92 hitters in 70 innings. He arrived in Boston as part of a bullpen that also had Craig Kimbrel in the mix. It was sure to be a deadly 1-2 punch.
Two years later, Kimbrel is still in the bullpen and doing well overall. It’s just Smith who hasn’t been living up to expectations. In 2016, he pitched 2.2 innings before getting Tommy John surgery, knocking him out for over a year and a half. In 2017, he made his return but only pitched 6.2 innings, giving up only one earned run overall.
More Injury Woes in 2018
He came into the 2018 season looking to have a full healthy year for the first time in a Red Sox uniform. Unfortunately, it’s not looking like this will be the year. On Monday night against Oakland, he made an appearance in the eighth inning. He pitched an inning and gave up a solo home run to Khris Davis. On his way back to the dugout, he threw his glove out of frustration. Right away, he felt something pop. The next day Dave Dombrowski said it looks like a significant injury that will knock Smith out for a while. Just perfect.
Smith later said that he thinks the injury happened due to fatigue because he had been used a lot recently.
On Wednesday, Christopher Smith, writer for MassLive asked Smith to clarify what he said and if he was implying that Alex Cora was to blame. His response was “No comment, I’ve said everything I’ve needed to say.”
The truth is, Carson Smith is wrongfully throwing Cora under the bus. Smith’s point was that he thought he was being used too much and was blaming it on fatigue. This is something we can actually statistically refute. Of the ten pitchers to pitch out of the Red Sox bullpen this year, he is eighth in usage. The only guys behind him are Steven Wright and Bobby Poyner, who have barely pitched at all. Technically, Smith pitched the least out of every reliever in the bullpen this season. Yet, he has the audacity to go ahead and blame his manager for getting injured.
Do I hate that Smith threw his glove? No. He threw it out of anger, meaning that he cared. But if you are going to throw your glove like that, you have to be careful. And if a freak accident like this happens, the last thing you should do is blame the manager.
When asked about it, Cora disagreed with what Smith said. Cora mentioned that recently he and the coaching staff met with Smith about availability and he told them he was ready to go. So why complain about how you were being used too much when you told them you were available? Also, Smith has pitched only five innings this May.
Carson Smith screwed up. He knows he did, and is trying to blame anybody and anything but himself for this one. If this team didn’t need bullpen help already, they only do more so now. But for the meantime, who knows what will end up happening with Smith. He’s definitely not one of the more likable guys on the team right now for sure.