This one was almost too easy to predict.
Lefty Drew Smyly labored through 90 pitches while recording just 12 outs Tuesday in a minor-league game against El Paso, the Triple-A affiliate for the San Diego Padres.
Smyly gave up six runs and seven hits over five innings. Three innings were halted in progress — rolled over — because of pitch-count limits.
"He working on some change-ups, cutters and stuff," pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. said. "He was not using as many curveballs as he typically would. For me, the curveball and the high fastball kind of play off each other."
The Mariners chose to have Smyly start a minor-league game rather than face Oakland, an American League West opponent. Tuesday’s outing also amounted to a significant emotional drop.
Smyly’s previous start came for the United States against Venezuela, and teammate Felix Hernandez, in the World Baseball Classic. Smyly allowed just one unearned run in that game over 4 2/3 innings while striking out eight.
Right-hander Yovani Gallardo faces a similar challenge Wednesday when he will pitch in a minor-league game to avoid facing the Los Angeles Angels, another division opponent.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners