There's not much to criticize about the Spokane Indians after the first two games of the Northwest League season. Not only are the Indians 2-0, but they've collected 23 hits while five of their seven pitchers who have seen action haven't allowed earned runs. The Indians have made just two errors, and one was a throw home that hit a Eugene player in the back. Last year it took Spokane more than a week to pick up its second win. This season, their second win came less than 24 hours after their first. Read story
Most of the time, starting pitchers in the Northwest League don't work enough innings early in the season to qualify for wins. Spokane's first two starters of the season, Nick Gardewine and Richelson Pena, have bucked that trend by working at least five innings to pick up victories.
"(Indians starters) are on the same pitch count (as previous years), but they’re just throwing well," manager Hulett said. "They’re throwing a lot of strikes, getting guys to swing the bats early in counts, and that’s how you get through six innings. It makes it so our bullpen guys can come in and get their feet wet and get their first outing. And the offense is doing a good job of getting us some runs, so (the relievers) are not coming in under the gun."
Indians relievers Andrew Barnett, Luis Pollorena, John Fasola, Ryan Ledbetter and Shane McCain have combined to work six innings, allowing three hits and no earned runs, striking out eight and walking none.
"Ryan did a nice job (Saturday) coming in and being aggressive in the strike zone and McCain, that’s the first time I’ve seen him throw," Hulett said. "Very nice."
Eduard Pinto is leading the offense with five hits and five RBIs in the two games. Seth Spivey had added four hits.
The first seven Indians batters in Saturday's win were 11 for 25. The problem was returners Jamie Jarmon and Saquan Johnson, who combined for seven strikeouts and one double play.
"You never know what you’re getting when you get those new guys," Hulett said. "Of course, Pinto, we know he can swing the bat and he’s hot right now. I love the way he’s leading off the game for us. But Spivey has shown good quality at-bats, not just good hits, but battling every time he’s up there."
"From what I’ve seen in the past two games, it looks like we have great pitching, it looks like we have great hitting and great fielding at the same time," said cleanup hitter Luke Tendler, who went 2 for 3 with two runs and a homer.