There weren't any blowouts, but the Spokane Indians came up empty during their first three games of the Northwest League season. Sunday afternoon's game against Everett ended 4-3, giving the AquaSox three wins in games decided by two runs or less (Friday and Saturday's games were 6-4 finals). The Indians now head to Vancouver, British Columbia for their first road trip. Read story
After the game, Indians starter Collin Wiles reflected on his first game with Spokane and his general notions about pitching.
"The main thing I tried to do today was just compete and force early contact and let my defense play," Wiles said. "The defense did that and made some outstanding plays behind me."
Wiles said he was especially pleased with the 4-6-3 double play the Indians pulled off in the second inning, calling it a "big security blanket" for a pitcher. Wiles also started a double play in the third when he caught Bryan Brito's liner with two runners aboard and threw to first base for the second out.
"You're not satisfied with the loss, but it's a good step forward with what I'm trying to do as a pitcher," Wiles said.
Manager Tim Hulett praised Wiles' start.
"That was a great start for the young kid," Hulett said. " 'Wilesey' did a good job. He mixed his pitches well and got ahead of the hitters today, which is what our other starters haven't done a very good job of."
Hulett wants to see a different approach by his offense.
"I'd like to see us have a sense of urgency earlier in the game," Hulett said. "Late in the game we feel urgency and put together better at-bats, but we need to do that earlier in the game.
"There were a couple of times we had guys in scoring position and we're going to have to get that two-out hit. Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of sock. We're not going to stand back and hit homers."
Aggressive base running hurt the Indians in the first, when Hirotoshi Onaka was picked up second base after a one-out double.
"Pickoffs always hurt you, but we're going to have to run and put guys in motion, so that's going to happen a lot," Hulett said. ... "We just need to have better reads and keep focusing on it."
Hulett said it might actually help the Indians to play on the road for their next three games.
"Sometimes there's a lot of pressure here at home because everybody wants to play so well," he said. "You get on the road, everyone calms down a bit and relaxes."
Spokane's next homestand starts Thursday, with five games against Boise and three against Vancouver. The Indians have one other homestand as long, starting in mid-August.