Ok, so I took a break from writing my Rays story and drove the 1/2 mile from my house to Cheney Stadium to watch Ryan Rowland-Smith's start tonight (I know, I have a problem if I'm going to random Triple A games on my nights off).
Anyway, Rowland-Smith didn't have his best command tonight. But overall it was a pretty solid start with Mariners Director of Player Development Greg Hunter and Director of Baseball Administration Jim Na on hand watching.
Rowland-Smith worked six innings, two runs on six innings with three walks and two strikeouts. Of the two runs - one came on a sacrifice fly and the other on an RBI single to left.
The only time he was really hit hard was when he fell behind in counts. And it wasn't as though he was missing badly with his spots. The home plate umpire was a little tight with his strike zone. Rowland-Smith threw 101 pitches, 66 were strikes.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of Rowland-Smith's performance came in his final inning of work. He got himself in trouble walking the lead off hitter, giving up a single and then a two out work walk to load the bases. He then gave up an RBI single to Chase Lambin. But just when the inning could have gotten out of hand, Rowland-Smith bowed his neck a little and struck out Brett Hayes looking on a perfect 2-2 fastball on the outside corner at 90 miles per hour.
So it raises an obvious question with a simple answer: Who would you rather have starting games at this point: Rowland-Smith or Miguel Batista?
I think I know the answer.
Other notes from the game ...
* The Rainiers hit back-to-back home runs as Matt Tuisasopo crushed a grand slam to left off of Chris Seddon. Wlad Balentien followed with a solo home run to left.
* Rob Johnson continues to hit, he has two doubles this game