Caution, Indians fans, it’s early.
Even though the season is just three games old, though, there are some things to be concerned about.
Spokane had the hat trick of deficiencies Saturday – inconsistent pitching, poor hitting and even poorer defense in a 6-3 loss to the Hillsboro Hops in a Northwest League game before 6,471 at Avista Stadium.
The Indians are averaging a smidge more than three errors after a season-high five Saturday.
Promising prospect Ti’Quan Forbes, a third baseman, had a hat trick of miscues. One of each kind – fielding, throwing and dropping an infield popup.
Things didn’t get appreciably better after that.
The game was tough on fans, too. The attending doctor had to be called three times to examine patrons stuck by foul balls.
Spokane manager Tim Hulett was predictably disappointed.
“Like the first night, we didn’t play great but we did do some good things,” Hulett said. “We swung the bats all right (in the opener). But tonight, defensively that’s a disaster. We’ve got to be better. We’ve got to make the routine plays.”
Hulett wasn’t displeased with the pitching. He said it was difficult to assess how effective his pitchers were because they didn’t get any help early.
“You give up a routine ground ball, you can’t get an out, and all of a sudden you start pitching to the corners too much and get behind,” he said. “I think, overall, the pitching wasn’t that bad. I think the offense was bad; the defense was really bad.”
By the time the Indians (1-2) recorded their first hit in the sixth inning, they trailed 6-0.
Hillsboro (2-1) got out to a 3-0 lead in the third. Raymel Flores had a sacrifice fly and Dane McFarland and Luis Veras knocked in runs with hits.
Hillsboro added single runs in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings, the final run coming on a homer from Trevor Mitsui.
Spokane broke through for its first run in the seventh when Leon Byrd Jr. got his first professional hit, driving in Jamie Potts, who had opened the inning with a walk.
In the ninth, Spokane added two more runs. LeDarious Clark had a sacrifice fly and Potts scored on a wild pitch.
“We’re still trying to figure out what guys can do, where they need to get some help,” Hulett said. “By the end of the year I think we’re going to be a good defending club. It’s one of those things that you go through as a team. It’s snowballing. Guys are a little edgy in the field. We’ll get better. I think we’re going to be a good, solid club. I think we’re going to run bases well and we haven’t run them well. But I guess you need to get on a little more to find out.”
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