Under the rules of the new collective bargaining agreement, teams are allowed to carry a 26th man for a day/night double header. Earlier on Saturday, it was announced that the Royals would face the Red Sox at their scheduled time of 12:35 p.m. CST on Sunday and then again that evening at 6:00 p.m. to make up Friday’s game, which was postponed due to the unusual circumstances in Boston and the hunt for a suspected terrorist.
Smith has been pitching well in Omaha, covering 16 innings in three starts for the Storm Chasers. He’s allowed five earned runs, good for a 2.81 ERA and has struck out 23 batters, walking just six. His last start was on April 16, so this lines up with his next scheduled day. Ned Yost has already hinted that he’ll likely be pitching Ervin Santana in the early game and Jeremy Guthrie in the late game. Luis Mendoza‘s last start was scheduled to be skipped after a scheduled off day on Thursday, so the Royals find themselves loaded with long relief options if either starter falters early. Bruce Chen would also be available.
The Royals starters have mostly been successful through the first three weeks of the year, but Smith was one of the better performers during spring training before being optioned down to Triple A. Smith struck out ten in 11 innings in Surprise, allowing two earned runs. Last year, Smith made 16 starts in the big leagues, with a 5.32 ERA in 89.2 innings.