Smith could find himself in a timeshare behind the plate when the regular season begins, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports. Smith entered spring training with a firm grasp on primary catcher duties, but that may have changed after he went only 3-for-21 (.143) in Cactus League play. Meanwhile, his main competition for backstop duties, Austin Barnes, posted a 1.033 OPS during spring contests. While manager Dave Roberts stated that the pair is part of a "partnership" behind the plate, a general idea of how playing time will be divided remains unclear.
Smith is out of the lineup Sunday for Game 3 of the NLDS between the Dodgers and the Nationals, Bill Plunkett of The Orange County Register reports. Smith will take a seat Sunday in a tilt against the Nationals as Russell Martin will get the nod behind the plate in favor of the rookie. Through the first two games, Smith has gone 1-for-7 with three strikeouts and a walk. The righty showed flashes of solid power during the regular season but also had a tendency to strike out in bunches. After Smith struggled in his first two career playoff games, the Dodgers will turn to the veteran in Martin in a decisive Game 3. After all, Martin and starter Hyun-Jin Ryu have combined for a 1.52 ERA in 20 starts this season.
Smith went 2-for-3 with a home run, three RBI and a run scored in the Dodgers' 9-0 win over the Giants on Sunday. Smith went on a 12-game homerless streak in the month of September before finally hitting one out last Sunday. One week later and he has his second home run of the month and his 15th of his bright rookie season. The 24-year-old catcher struggled a bit with consistency at the plate for certain stretches of the season but possesses immense power and should play a key role as he gets set for his first-ever appearance in the postseason.
Smith is not in the lineup Saturday against the Giants, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports. After posting a .222 OPS in his first 11 games in September, Smith has a 1.012 mark over his last five contests. Russell Martin starts behind the plate in his absence.
Smith is not in the lineup Wednesday against the Padres. Smith has started six of the past seven games, going 2-for-20 with a home run and three RBI over that stretch. Russell Martin is starting at backstop and hitting eighth in this one.
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