By Steve Hunt/Special to the Journal
ARLINGTON, Texas – Seth Smith has been here before, in the thick of a playoff chase.
The former Ole Miss standout was a rookie on the 2007 Colorado team that won 21 of 22 games in September and eventually ended up in the World Series.
He also appeared in the 2009 playoffs with the Rockies. And after coming to Oakland last winter and with the A’s possibly on the cusp of their first playoff berth since 2006, he can’t help but compare the current Oakland squad to those ’09 Rockies.
“I see a lot of similarities just in we play consistently good baseball,” Smith said. “We’ve got really good pitching and timely hitting. This group of guys is young, energetic and excited about the opportunity.”
The ex-Rebel has appeared in 118 games and is hitting .245 with 14 home runs and 51 RBIs, seeing time in left field, right field, at designated hitter and as a pinch hitter while hitting everywhere in the lineup except leadoff. Such production and versatility has definitely impressed Oakland manager Bob Melvin.
“Smitty’s been a great addition to this team,” Melvin said. “We target him a little bit more so for right-handed pitching, a guy that can play either corner outfield spot, can DH, pinch hitting roles. He’s gotten some big hits for us. He’s been a significant force wherever he hits in the lineup and he’s very versatile in where he can hit in the lineup.”
A good fit
While it was tough for him to leave Colorado, the organization that had drafted him and where he had played for five years, he admits Oakland has been a nice fit for him.
“It’s been great. I didn’t know what to expect coming in, but I couldn’t be happier with where I am and the group of guys that I get to play with every day,” Smith said.
And one of the best things about joining the A’s, who have shocked the baseball world by coming out of nowhere to contend for a playoff spot has been how close this team is on and off the field.
“It’s great. From the beginning, we’ve had one goal and that’s make it to the playoffs,” Smith said. “It’s mostly young guys. We’ve got some veteran guys and it’s been going smoothly all season. The guys get along great and feed off of each other. We all know what we’re trying to do.”