ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Joe Smith, the Los Angeles Angels' closer for now, said he looks at his new role much the same as he viewed pitching as a setup man in the seventh or eighth innings.
Smith, who replaced the struggling Ernesto Frieri, got his first save of the season the first chance he got Monday against his former Cleveland Indians teammates. Handed a 6-3 lead, Smith gave up just a single in a scoreless ninth. Then on Tuesday, he pitched a perfect ninth for his second save in a 6-4 win over Cleveland.
No drama, no problem.
"For me, it's just another inning," said Smith, who has five saves in 452 career appearances. "I'm not somebody who thinks it's a different animal.
"I had to come in and face (Detroit's) Miguel Cabrera (with the Indians), since he was in our division, every frickin' weekend with the bases loaded and one out. What's a tougher spot? You're up 4-3 in the seventh facing Miggy, or you have a three-run lead in the ninth and a clean inning? I'll take the three-run lead and the clean inning any day."
Smith pitched scoreless ball in 12 of his 13 outings this season. He is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA.