Seattle (2-2) at Oakland (2-1)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Oakland, CA
Temp: 60° F
  • Game info: 10:05 pm EDT Fri Apr 10, 2009
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Ryan Rowland-Smith passed on an opportunity to pitch in the World Baseball Classic in order to earn a spot in the Seattle Mariners’ rotation.

He’ll begin to see if the extra work paid off Friday when Seattle opens a three-game series with the Oakland Athletics.

Rowland-Smith was converted into a starter last July after making 58 relief appearances for Seattle (2-2) between 2007 and 2008. He finished the season 3-2 with a 3.50 ERA in 12 starts. The Mariners were only 3-8 in those outings, but the left-hander had eight quality starts.

The Australian chose not to pitch for his home country in the World Baseball Classic this summer, though, and new manager Don Wakamatsu was pleased with the decision, saying it was important he stayed in camp to mature.

“His strength is his aggressiveness, and you never want to take that away from a pitcher,” Wakamatsu told the Mariners’ official Web site. “But when his emotions get out of control, I think he stops making adjustments. We still want him to be aggressive, but we also want him to be under control and think on his feet.”

The left-hander is 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA in two starts and five relief appearances against the A’s (2-1). He split two starts against them last season and had a 2.63 ERA.

He’ll look to quiet Oakland’s lineup, which, after opening its series against the Los Angeles Angels with a 3-0 loss, put together 31 hits in consecutive 6-4 victories in the next two games. The series finale between the teams was postponed Thursday following the death of Angels rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart.

In Wednesday’s victory, the A’s scored three runs in the eighth and three in the ninth to rally for the win. Nomar Garciaparra, Matt Holliday and Mark Ellis, who finished with three hits, all had ninth-inning RBI singles.

“Sometimes you can make your own breaks,” Holliday said. “We had to take advantage of the breaks we got, and it worked out for us. It was a fun game to jump in at the end.”

Ryan Sweeney has six hits in his last two games after going 0-for-4 in the season opener.

Seattle, meanwhile, is coming off a split of its series with the Twins, winning the opener and finale. On Thursday, Jarrod Washburn allowed five hits over eight innings in a 2-0 victory. Adrian Beltre and Rob Johnson each had RBI singles.

Brandon Morrow, who walked three and gave up the game-winning hit in Tuesday’s loss, got the save in the ninth, striking out two and getting a popout to end the game after walking the first batter.

“It took me a little while to put it out of my head,” Morrow said. “But I was just glad to get out there again.”

Beltre had two hits Thursday to improve to 5-for-13 (.385) through four games with two doubles, two runs scored and three RBIs.

The postponement of the A’s game Thursday has pushed back the major league debut of Brett Anderson to this game.

The 21-year-old left-hander, acquired in the 2007 trade that sent Dan Haren to Arizona, played at all three levels of Oakland’s minor league system last season and struck out 118 in 105 innings while walking 27 and posting a 3.69 ERA. He led the U.S. Olympic team to the bronze medal with a win over Japan in Beijing this summer.

Anderson continued that strong pitching into spring training, finishing 3-1 with a 2.83 ERA.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Rowland-Smith Cin vs. B. Anderson LAD
5-4 Record 11-11
3.74 ERA 4.06
52 K 150
27 BB 45
1.18 WHIP 1.28


Friday, Apr 10