Tuesday, May 18, 2010

MARINERS: Oakland topples Rowland-Smith, M's 8-4

The lowly Mariners lost again Monday night in Oakland 8-4, earning yet another three-game losing streak. There was a glimmer of hope after the first inning, in which the M’s scored a quick run and earned a 1-0 lead. With anyone else on the mound besides Ryan Rowland-Smith, the M’s may have actually had a legitimate shot with that lead. Hyphen was on the mound last night, however, and it very well could have been his last start in the majors for a while.

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Rowland-Smith gave up at least 2 runs in each of the three innings he started last night, and gave up 10 hits with two of those sailing over the fence. Ian Snell entered the game in relief (which has become habitual for every Ryan Rowland-Smith start in the past month), and gave up only 1 run off of 5 hits in 2.2 innings, the same amount of time Hyphen was out there.

It may be tough to swallow, as Ryan Rowland-Smith has been a fan-favorite of recent seasons, but not many starting professional pitchers manage to perform poorly for this long into the season and maintain their position in a starting rotation. Granted, Rowland-Smith has shown prowess in the latter portions of the regular season and tends to develop more as the season progresses, but in 2010 he has yet to earn a win and hasn’t had a quality start since April 17th at home against Detroit.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Mariners earned a HR from Matt Tuiasosopo, making this the 4th out of 5 games to hit at least one over the fence. This is a good sign for a squad that has been in the basement all season in offensive-production, and could hopefully show signs of contagious hitting and major progression.

Ken Griffey Jr. got the start again at DH Monday evening, and went 0-for-4 and grounded into an inning-ending double play. As per usual, more players failed to get a hit than not last night, dropping the team’s batting average to .230 on the year.

An Opening Day re-match is set to occur tonight in Oakland, as the M’s ace Felix Hernandez (2-3, 3.88) looks to even his record against the Athletic’s Ben Sheets (2-3, 5.70). Any game against a divisional opponent is crucial, and the Mariners are in dire need of a win to end their nightmarish road trip and build some confidence for the upcoming homestand.

Reach Jacob Kehle at nextseasonsports@gmail.com