Alonzo Powell’s familiarity with Seattle’s hitters played an important role in his promotion to hitting coach. Still, even Powell might be surprised with how quickly the Mariners have responded since his arrival.
Looking strong at the plate in their first two games with Powell, the Mariners look to earn yet another win over the lowly Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night.
Seattle (13-19) has gotten quality pitching, posting a 3.50 ERA, but poor production from its lineup has been holding it back. The Mariners have scored an AL-low 107 runs.
Seattle fired hitting coach Alan Cockrell on Sunday and gave the job to Powell, who held the same position at Triple-A Tacoma, previously working with a number of current Mariners.
Seattle has scored 13 runs in winning its two games since Powell took over, reaching double figures in hits both times. The Mariners got two hits each from four players in a 5-1 win over the Orioles (9-24) on Tuesday night to open this three-game series, improving to 4-0 against Baltimore.
Seattle had lost its previous eight before its back-to-back wins.
If Powell can help the Mariners become respectable at the plate, their pitching might give them a chance to bounce back from their terrible start. Cliff Lee(notes) earned his first win with Seattle on Tuesday, and the team’s starters have a 1.66 ERA over their last three games.
The left-hander gave up a season-worst six runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings of an 8-0 loss to Tampa Bay on Thursday night.
This is Rowland-Smith’s first start versus the Orioles. He is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in four relief appearances against them.
Baltimore will counter with Brad Bergesen(notes) (2-2, 7.36), who has won two straight starts and is coming off a particularly promising outing. He allowed six hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 2-0 win over Minnesota on Thursday.
“I’m to the point at my mental state that I’m getting back to even keel,” said Bergesen, who failed to last past the fifth inning in each of his first four starts.
The right-hander struggled against the Mariners on April 19, allowing seven runs - four earned - and six hits in 2 2-3 innings of an 8-2 loss. He is 1-2 with a 3.42 ERA in four starts versus them.
Baltimore has given up 16 runs en route to losing its last three, but its pitchers are getting little support as the Orioles have scored twice.