CHICAGO – This latest outing by struggling Mariners left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith ranked right up there in sports lore with Randall “Tex” Cobb stumbling through 15 rounds against a murderous Larry Holmes.
Or like Angola’s basketball scrubs taking on the U.S. Dream Team. Actually, by the time this 11-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox was done on Tuesday night, Rowland-Smith was like a tuna that had gone head-to-head with a school of great white sharks.
When he was finally pulled, having completed the regulation five innings to spare his bullpen extra work, Rowland-Smith was a figurative bloodied, battered mess. He had allowed a club record-tying 11 runs on an equal number of hits.
The crowd of 26,080 at U.S. Cellular Field was kicking back and relaxing just two innings in, courtesy of a 7-0 lead. Seattle had squandered its only real chance against Chicago starter Gavin Floyd when Jose Lopez grounded into an inning-ending double play with runners at the corners in the first.
Lopez tweaked his hamstring on the play, was pulled from the game and is listed as day to day.
By the time the fifth was done, Rowland-Smith had yielded seven extra-base hits, including a three-run homer by Andruw Jones, a two-run blast by Alexei Ramirez and a solo shot from Paul Konerko.
“I was working on some stuff,” a dejected-looking Rowland-Smith, who fell to 1-10 with a 6.96 earned-run average, said as he dressed quickly by his locker. “Some was good, some was bad. I’m still working.”
And with the bullpen already weakened, he was left to work far longer than anyone wanted.
“It’s never easy on a manager to leave a guy out there,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. “He ended up giving us five innings. But giving up seven early, it forces you to go to your bullpen early and decimate it, or leave him out there.”
“We’ll dialogue, obviously about what we’re going to do from this point forward,” Wakamatsu said. “We’ll have some discussions with (general manager) Jack (Zduriencik) and we’ll make a decision.”
If Rowland-Smith is replaced in the rotation, it will be with somebody at Class AAA Tacoma. The Mariners are leaning toward calling up top prospect Michael Pineda in the next few weeks.