When Spokane Indians’ pitching coach Joey Seaver walked out to the mound in the second inning, his instructions to starting pitcher C.D. Pelham were simple.
“Stop playing around with hitters and start throwing the fastball,” Seaver said to Pelham, who walked three straight batters to load the bases in the second inning.
Pelham did just that, utilizing his 96-to-97 mph fastball to record two strikeouts and escape the inning unscathed. He threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings, giving up two hits, fanning eight and walking five in the Indians 1-0 loss to Eugene on Friday at Avista Stadium.
Pelham, who was inserted into the starting rotation on July 24 at Boise, posted a 14.72 ERA in his first three starts this season. Tonight was progress for the hard-throwing right-hander.
“I definitely think it was a step in the right direction compared to his last three starts,” Seaver said.
Pelham was one of the Indians’ best relievers before making the switch to the rotation. He had a 2.70 ERA in eight appearances and was counted on frequently in key moments. Seaver said his mechanics were off in his rough outings, leaving balls up in the strike zone for batters to tee off on, but was impressed with his improvements tonight.
“Most of the fastballs the last few times out have either been misses, or up and middle, very hittable,” Seaver said. “I didn’t think it was that way tonight. I thought it was much better.”
In his fourth minor league start Pelham said he felt much more comfortable. Working with Seaver every day to shore up his mechanics and shape his mentality on the mound has helped him a lot, he said.
“I think the first couple of times it was just kind of overwhelming,” Pelham said. “I know some people would just give up and quit, but I’m not that type of guy.”
Seaver was Pelham’s pitching coach in his stint with the AZL Rangers last season and has been a steady figure in his career. Disapointing one of his role model in his first three outings was tough to swallow for Pelham
“I love Joey to death. He’s like a father figure to me,” Pelham said. “He’s a wonderful guy, encouraging me everyday to stay positive and be patient … I think we’re finally figuring it out.”
Eugene scored the game’s only run in the fifth, as Zach Short reached third from first on a single from Wladimir Galindo, and later scored after Galindo was caught in a rundown after taking too large of a lead rounding first.
The Indians offense couldn’t offer any support, combining to go 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position and leaving eight runners on base.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.