Joe Smith: ‘If You Want To Wake Up Our Lineup, Good Luck’

Fernando Rodney had it coming.

The Seattle closer entered Sunday’s game with a 5-4 lead against the Angels. After getting out of the eighth inning unscathed, Rodney performed his bow-and-arrow routine, sending a phantom arrow to the heart of the Angels’ dugout.

Big mistake.

Mike Trout walked to lead off the ninth inning and scored on a double by Albert Pujols to make it 5-5. Trout and Pujols then mocked Rodney, giving him a bow-and-arrow shot of their own.

“It was awesome,” Angels reliever Joe Smith said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I loved it.”

Even better for the Angels? Josh Hamilton singled and wound up scoring the game-winning run on a base knock by Grant Green. Los Angeles won 6-5 for its 30th come-from-behind win this season.

But Doug Gottlieb wonders if there will be ramifications for Trout and Pujols. After all, players don’t like being mocked or disrespected.

Smith doesn’t think anything will happen.

“No, I don’t think so,” he said. “I mean, what ramifications could there be? (Rodney) did it right at our dugout. How can he (be mad)? What’s he going to do? As a reliever, I kind of just want to go in and get my job done and get out of there. I’ve never been a guy (who does something like that), especially when the 2-3-4 (hitters) in one of the best lineups in the (game are) coming up. I really don’t want to wake them up with a (one-run) lead. Apparently he wanted to take a different approach. If you want to wake up Trout and Pujols and Hamilton and the rest of our lineup, good luck.”

Smith, if you’re curious, has no save celebration.

“It was funny,” he said. “I think when I got my first one, Hank Conger was catching me. People that know Hank, he’s one of the biggest jokesters on our team. He’s absolutely hilarious. Great guy to have around. After my first one, I’m walking into him and he’s sticking his hand out and he’s like, ‘Eric Gagne shake, Eric Gagne shake, Eric Gagne shake.’ So he wanted me to do the Gange handshake – like (it’s all business) and get it over with. So I kind of did that just because it was Hank, but that was it. I’m not a big rah-rah guy.”

While Smith has no save celebration, he certainly has a lot to celebrate. He’s allowed just two hits and no runs in 12 July appearances.

Smith, who has experience as both a closer and a set-up man, doesn’t really distinguish between the two roles.

“I think of it as the same,” he said. “It’s just another inning. You got to stretch a little bit sooner. That’s about it for me, really. I just think closing’s a lot of fun. That’s what it’s about. If you’re a bullpen guy and you don’t want to close, you’re crazy. That’s pretty much (every reliever’s goal) – to be in that situation.”

Smith has 15 saves, a 2.22 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP entering play July 21, as the Angels (59-38) have the second-best record in baseball.

“As long as we get in there and shut the door,” Smith said, “everything is lining up to be a really strong second half.”



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