The Dodgers don’t have many Major League ready catchers at hand. So when Will Smith left the game in the 5th inning, fans were understandably concerned. It was worse given the fact that Barnes was the only available backup catcher left to utilize. The team was left open to having no catcher should Barnes be injured in the same game.
Later in the game, it was announced that Smith had left with neck soreness. It’s unclear how he hurt his neck, whether offensively or defensively. Smith did ground into a double play in his only at-bat of the Dodgers win over the Padres.
Smith has experienced a slow start to the season offensively. On the bright side, a lot of that can be attributed to plenty of bad luck. Smith has one of the highest expected wOBA on the team with the second-largest actual differential. That means that he is hitting the ball very well, but just not finding holes in the defense. The Dodgers would likely need to lean heavily on Austin Barnes should Smith need to sit out.
Will Smith left the game with a sore neck, and Roberts said it came from the collision at the plate in San Diego.
— Michael J. Duarte (@michaeljduarte) August 13, 2020
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had previously said that Will Smith would start 3 of 4 games against San Diego. With Barnes having started the game before, that would mean Smith was lined up to start on Thursday. Austin Barnes will now be getting the start in his place to give Smith a day off. Roberts did say that Smith was feeling okay and that they would feel it out Thursday morning.
Up Next for the Dodgers
The Dodgers play one more against San Diego on Thursday night. Julio Urias will get the ball and go head-to-head with Chris Paddack. After that, Los Angeles heads down the 5 freeway to take on the Angels in a three-game series this weekend.