Josh Smith isn't concerned about whether he gets promoted soon from Class A. The rest of the Midwest League might be.
Smith struck out a career-high 12 batters over six innings Friday night as the Dayton Dragons blanked the Fort Wayne TinCaps, 4-0, for their fifth straight win and 11th in 12 games.
The 23-year-old right-hander gave up four hits and two walks in lowering his ERA to 0.93 in five starts. He leads the league with 35 strikeouts over 29 innings.
"I'm just going out and not trying to do too much," Smith said. "I'm just trying to get ahead early and have a hitter swing at my pitch, have the defense work for me."
Smith (2-1), selected by the Reds in the 21st round of the 2010 Draft, recorded his first nine outs on strikeouts.
"All my pitches, a lot of fastballs and curveballs, they were all working good," Smith said. "I had a lot of confidence. I felt like I could throw any pitch in any count. That always helps."
Although he has enjoyed a strong start to his full professional season, Smith has not concerned himself with a potential callup.
"I try not to think about it," he said. "I take it one day at a time. If they call me up, great; if they don't, that's great, too. I just try to go out and work hard and get better. I don't think, 'Are they going to move me up?' I just try to go out and perform."
After going 2-3 with a 2.14 ERA in 19 relief appearances at short-season Billings and Dayton last season, Smith wanted to limit his walks, throw all of his pitches for strikes and get batters to swing at "his pitch." To this point, he feels he's done a good job accomplishing those goals.
"So far, it's been pretty good," the Lipscomb University product said. "I'm happy with the way I've been pitching and, even better, the team's been winning. Hopefully, we can keep it up."