There aren't many secrets left between Zane Smith and the Cincinnati Reds.
Smith is scheduled to start tonight for Pittsburgh in Game 6 of the National League playoffs against fellow left-hander Danny Jackson with the Reds leading the best-of-7 series 3-2.The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in today's editions reported that Manager Jim Leyland might start right-hander Ted Power against Cincinnati.
"It's not 100-percent sure, but it's 99 percent," the Post-Gazette quoted Leyland as saying. "The Reds have eight extra position players. We have eight extra pitchers. Why not take advantage of that?"
But Pittsburgh vice president of public relations Rick Cerrone said early this morning that Smith was still the Pirates' scheduled starter.
In seven previous starts against the Reds this season, Smith has given up 20 runs and 54 hits in 47 1/3 innings.
Smith was the losing pitcher in Game 3 when the Reds beat him 6-3 on a three-run homer by Mariano Duncan and a two-run shot by Billy Hatcher.
"This will be my eighth start of the season against Cincinnati, and that can be bad," Smith said Thursday night. "They're familiar with what I throw, and it's a negative."
Smith made four starts against Cincinnati for Montreal, losing twice. After being acquired by the Pirates on Aug. 8, Smith was 2-0 in two starts against the Reds.
He was 6-2 in 10 starts for the Pirates, yielding only nine earned runs in 75 innings. But in Game 3, he gave up five runs in five innings.
"I'm glad to have another chance," Smith said. "People would remember that one time and forget how well I pitched this season."
Smith, who is eligible for free agency, spent five seasons with the Atlanta Braves and was 1-12 in 1989 before being dealt to Montreal.
"When you're on a losing team, you become a defensive pitcher," Smith said. "I would have liked to have seen what I could have done with a full season with the Pirates."
The prospect of the Nasty Boys - a trio of Cincinnati relief pitchers - coming in the game has the Pirates a bit defensive at the plate.
"I don't think we need a miracle or anything, just some big hits," Bobby Bonilla said.
The Pirates didn't get many big hits from their big three of Andy Van Slyke, Bonilla and Barry Bonds in the first five games. The trio combined to go 12-for-55 (.218) with no homers and five RBIs.
"My loss in Game 3 showed that sometimes when the big guys don't come through the other guys have to pick you up," Smith said. "I shut down the middle of their order, but Duncan and Hatcher come up with home runs."
Eight times in postseason history a team has rebounded from a 3-1 deficit - and Pittsburgh has done it twice, in the 1925 and 1979 World Series.