Wednesday began with word that Drew Smyly will undergo Tommy John surgery early next month after being diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament and be lost for this and next season. Then the Mariners completed a downer day with a 5-4 loss for a two-game series sweep by the Philadelphia Phillies, the team with MLB’s worst record (26-51).
That made for four losses in a row, following a season-best six-game losing streak, that left the Mariners at 39-41. Felix Hernandez, in his second game back from injury, had a respectable game — seven innings and three runs allowed — but for the second game in a row, closer Edwin Diaz failed in the ninth.
The Mariners no-hit the Phils after the third inning and held a 4-3 lead until Diaz gave up a leadoff solo homer in the ninth to DH Tommy Joseph, his 13th, to tie. Diaz struck out the next two batters, but walked Cameron Perkins. A balk moved Perkins into scoring position. Andrew Knapp singled to right on a 1-2 pitch into right field to give the Phillies the lead.
Seattle had home runs from Kyle Seager, Danny Valencia and Robinson Cano among 11 hits, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Mariners from losing the final four games of the homestand that began with five wins in a row.
Smyly, a 28-year-old lefthander acquired by the club in January to be the No. 4 starter, has not pitched in the regular season and will probably miss the next 12 to 15 months.
Smyly has been on the disabled list since Opening Day with a flexor strain in his left arm, an injury that occurred during spring training when he pitched for the U.S. during the World Baseball Classic.
Smyly was going to pitch a simulated game Tuesday, but that was scrapped. Additional tests revealed that Smyly required Tommy John surgery, slated for July 6. Smyly has two years remaining on his contract.
The Mariners landed Smyly from Tampa Bay in exchange for three players, OF Mallex Smith (acquired earlier that day from the Atlanta Braves), infielder Carlos Vargas and left-hander Ryan Yarbrough. Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto immediately projected Smyly into Seattle’s rotation.
“We have been clear that one of our top priorities this offseason was to continue to bolster our starting rotation,” Dipoto said after making the trade. “Today’s moves allowed us to add an experienced pitcher to our starting group. Drew took the ball 30 times last season, threw over 175 innings and is a proven performer in the American League. He’s a good fit for our club.”
Smyly went 7-12 with 4.88 ERA in 2016, establishing career highs in starts (30), innings (175.1) and strikeouts (167).
Smyly was a second-round pick by Detroit in 2010, made his MLB debut with the Tigers in 2012, and was traded to Tampa Bay in 2014. He is 31-27 with a 3.74 ERA in 156 career games, including 85 starts.
After an off-day Thursday, the Mariners have a weekend series in Anaheim starting with a 7:07 game Friday when Sam Giviglio goes against Parker Bridwell.