BALTIMORE – His shortest outing of the season long-since concluded, Ryan Rowland-Smith ended another tough postmortem by suggesting he should “go back to pitching with a chip on my shoulder.”
It’s advice the rest of his last-place Seattle Mariners team might consider as well. For the first seven innings of this 5-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night, few would dispute that a makeshift lineup consisting mainly of backups and recent Triple-A call-ups appeared to be sound asleep.
By the time the bats awoke in the eighth and ninth innings, it was too late for the anemic Mariners to dig themselves out of the latest hole Rowland-Smith had left for them.
The big question now is whether Rowland-Smith will get another chance to play with the “chip” that served him so well in years past when he was fighting to prove he belonged.
“It seems like the last couple of years, I don’t know if I was ticked off at myself or had that ‘Nothing to lose’ sort of mentality,” Rowland-Smith said. “Maybe I need to get back to that. I tried not to be that way this year, but now, I’m going through some bumps in the road. I’m trying everything, so we’ll see.”
Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said after the game that the team won’t make an overnight evaluation on Rowland-Smith. But that could change in the coming days, especially with left-hander Luke French turning in some impressive outings in Triple-A.
Rowland-Smith, pulled by Wakamatsu after Luke Scott led off the bottom of the fourth with a home run to make it 3-0, said he’s trying not to worry about what the team might decide.
“The last couple of years, there have been times where I’ve sort of gotten it going into survival mode,” Rowland-Smith said.
“I’m pretty close.”
His teammates might want to follow suit. The loss dropped the Mariners 5 1/2 games back in the division standings with a series finale today in Baltimore, then five games on the road against Tampa Bay and Oakland.
The Mariners had scored 13 runs in two games, both wins, heading in to this contest, but managed just three hits through the first seven innings against Orioles starter Brad Bergesen and trailed 5-0.
Seattle was without top hitter Franklin Gutierrez, sidelined with back spasms but expected to play today. Ken Griffey Jr. was kept out of the lineup, with Jose Lopez inserted at designated hitter in his place.
Griffey came up for a ninth-inning pinch-hit appearance with two on and one out and delivered a sacrifice fly short of the right-field warning track. Michael Saunders then popped out to center, leaving Seattle at 13-20.
Wilson placed on DL
The Mariners placed starting shortstop Jack Wilson on the 15-day disabled list and recalled infielder Matt Tuiasosopo from Triple-A Tacoma.
Wilson is out with a strained right hamstring. Josh Wilson will continue to be the regular shortstop while he is out.
Orioles 5, Mariners 2
|a-Griffey Jr. ph||0||0||0||1||0||0||.200|
E—Tuiasosopo (4), M.Tejada (6). LOB—Seattle 7, Baltimore 8. 2B—I.Suzuki (6), M.Tejada (7), Scott (6), Atkins (6). HR—Scott (5), off Rowland-Smith. RBIs—Figgins (9), Griffey Jr. (6), Ad.Jones (8), M.Tejada 2 (15), Scott (10), C.Izturis (6). SB—I.Suzuki (10). S—Tuiasosopo. SF—Griffey Jr., C.Izturis. RLISP—Seattle 5 (Jo.Wilson 2, Figgins, Jo.Lopez, M.Saunders); Baltimore 3 (C.Izturis, Wieters, Scott). RMU—Wieters. GIDP—Jo.Wilson 2. DP—Baltimore 2 (C.Izturis, Wigginton, Atkins), (M.Tejada, Atkins).
|Rowl-Smith L, 0-3||3||7||3||3||1||2||6.44|
|Bergesen W,3-2||7 2/3||5||1||1||2||3||5.76|
IR-S—Ohman 1-0, Uehara 2-0, Simon 2-1. IBB—off Bergesen (Langerhans). T—2:48. A—11,448 (48,290).