As a part of ESPN’s MLB Playoff Preview, Jeff Passan came up with a bold October prediction for all ten teams remaining in the field. Most of them were serious, but the Braves’ one had a little bit of humor to it. Passan suggested that Will Smith will trend on Twitter at least three times.
Every time Will Smith comes jogging out of the bullpen in the ninth inning at Truist Park, you can hear a collective groan throughout the stadium. Blood pressures rise and eyes roll when his name is announced. However, that pales in comparison to the reactions you’ll find on Twitter from the Braves faithful, who have been tired of Smith closing games for months now.
In a lot of ways, it’s understandable. Smith has been far from a shutdown closer, posting a 3.44 ERA and 4.17 FIP. His 1.132 WHIP is even more telling; there’s rarely a clean inning when he’s on the mound, which isn’t typically conducive to closing games. With that being said, Smith led the league in games finished this season with 60, and he also went a more than respectable 37 for 43 in save opportunities. Not to mention, the Braves don’t exactly have anyone else with closer experience or stuff.
It’s truly a lose-lose situation for Brian Snitker. No matter who he throws out there in the ninth inning, it will be a roller-coaster ride, and fans never hesitate to point fingers. In this case, Snitker and Smith are easy scapegoats, but the real issue is the Braves’ lack of a true closer on the roster.
However, there’s another aspect worth mentioning when it comes to Passan’s bold prediction. If Smith is trending on Twitter at least three times, he seems to expect the Braves to go pretty deep in the postseason. And this isn’t all speculation; here’s what Passan had to say on today’s episode of Talkin’ Baseball regarding the Braves.
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) October 5, 2021
Sighs of despair will be aplenty every time Will Smith enters a game this postseason, and you can best believe Twitter fingers will be moving faster than ever. Regardless, Smith is the best option to pitch the ninth for the Braves, and if the team wants to make a deep run in October, he’ll have to be at the top of his game.