The M's 2-1, extra-inning loss Friday night against the Twins was depressing on several levels. Depressing because the team wasted another stellar outing by its ace, Felix Hernandez. Depressing because a Little League-esque error by Wladimir Balentien in left, where he came in on a fly ball that ended up glancing off the top of his mitt, effectively cost the M's the game. (The first thing you learn as a Little League outfielder is to always step backwards on contact.) Depressing because Ichiro's 27-game hit streak came to an end, with the M's leadoff man striking out to end the game to add insult to injury. Depressing because the team's 7 and 8 hitters, Rob Johnson and Ronny Cedeno, sport batting averages of .188 and .155, respectively. Depressing because manager Don Wakamatsu insisted upon letting Cedeno hit late in the game with Yuniesky Betancourt, Endy Chavez, and Ken Griffey Jr. available for pinch hitting duty. Depressing because Wakamatsu penciled Cedeno's name into the starting lineup, period. The Ronny Cedeno Experience is one that needs to end, and fast.
But more depressing than all this was Ryan Rowland-Smith's last rehab start in Tacoma last night. Playing at home, the Rainiers lost to the Reno Aces 21-5. With strict instructions to get Rowland-Smith's pitch count up to 100, the Aussie southpaw was left out there for 4-2/3 innings, giving up 14 hits and 12 runs while striking out exactly no one.
"That was the worst, roughest outing of my entire pro career," Rowland-Smith told The Olympian. Yeah, no shit -- and M's fans can look forward to Rowland-Smith starting against Baltimore this coming Thursday in his return to the bigs.