Dodgers Looking For ‘Balance’ With Will Smith Rest Days

Will Smith was out of the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup for the opener of the Freeway Series on Friday night, marking a second time in the past three games he did not start.

“I think that I’m trying to win every game, but also, you have to appreciate these players are human beings, and they get taxed, and you don’t want to redline guys,” manager Dave Roberts explained before the extra-innings loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

“You want to keep them strong throughout the season. So coming off four games in Denver, used him in a pinch-hit spot in game three and the day game, I just felt that we can get Austin out there tonight.

“He’ll be back in there to catch (Tyler) Glasnow, then we have an off day, and going into Chicago, he’ll catch all three. And so he’ll sort of get reset. But I mean, in a perfect world, he’d play 162, but that’s just not going to happen. So I feel good with Austin catching Landon tonight. It’s a balance, but it’s a conversation I have with players all the time.”

The Dodgers took three of four games from the Colorado Rockies, but it was a physically demanding series for the team as a whole. The reason being that Coors Field is elevated 5,200 feet above sea level, the highest of any MLB stadium, and there was also a heat factor.

During the series, Teoscar Hernández was somewhat curiously removed early from a close game, and in the finale, Freddie Freeman needed oxygen shortly after legging out an infield single.

Smith has played in 65 of the Dodgers’ 78 so far this season. With the Dodgers having another day off on Sunday, they saw an opportunity to give Smith a stretch of rest in a three-day span before they begin a six-game road trip.

Dodgers make right decision with Will Smith?

Although Smith is an All-Star caliber catcher and is in the midst of another strong season, he’s hit just .087/.154/.304 over the past seven games (six starts).

That could merely be a lull in a long year, or a potential indication that the 29-year-old may have needed multiple days of rest in a short span.

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