July 11, 2012 in Sports

Same old story for stumbling young Spokane Indians

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Here’s what’s trending these days for the Spokane Indians: defensive errors, erratic pitching and low batting averages.

This isn’t some online trend that involves tweeting or hashtags. This is the Indians’ current, real-life status – one that has made them one of two teams in the cellar of the Northwest League standings yet to reach double digits in the win column.

The Indians weren’t able to buck their current trends on Wednesday night as they opened an eight-game homestand at Avista Stadium.

Instead, they burned through four pitchers, were held to four hits and made more costly errors in a 4-1 loss to the Eugene Emeralds in front of 3,960 fans.

 “We just need to get on the other side of it,” Indians manager Tim Hulett said.

“They’re all main concerns. If you don’t have pitching, if you don’t have hitting and if the defense isn’t cleaned up, it’s tough to win any night, and right now we’re not really getting anything.”

The Indians (8-18) got off to a rough start on a routine grounder in the first at-bat for Eugene (14-11) in the top of the first. Spokane first baseman Barrett Serrato let a catchable ball from third baseman Ryan Rua pass him, and the error opened the door for the Emeralds to take a 2-0 lead.

Eugene added solo runs in the fifth and sixth and carried the shutout into the eighth, when Spokane finally sent one of 14 runners it had in scoring position throughout the 31/2-hour game – Gonzaga product Royce Bolinger – across the plate.

Spokane left 13 runners on base – including two in the ninth with the tying run at the plate.

“When you start playing poorly and guys start losing motivation, they start pressing and your development slows down in that situation,” Hulett said. “Tonight we had a lot of guys on base – always with two outs.

“There was only one inning when we had a guy in scoring position with less than two outs, so tonight we just needed a big hit and we just couldn’t get it.”

Spokane has the lowest team batting average in the league. Overall the hits haven’t been coming as of late, and beyond that, the Indians aren’t coming up with timely hits when they need them most.

“Obviously, hitting has just been a head-scratcher,” Hulett said. “There really isn’t anyone (to shake the lineup with). We’ve tried everybody. Everyone is hitting .150 to maybe .200 and there aren’t a lot of guys you can put in a row and be confident we’re going to score runs in that part of the lineup. … If I were them I would be (discouraged). This game is a tough game and there are a lot of guys that go through the system, and next year there are 50 new guys, and as much as we say we don’t always look at numbers, they do have something to do with it.

“If you’re a first-round draft choice, you’re probably going to be OK – but last time I looked we don’t have any first-round draft choices. You have to make an impression.”


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