The Spokane Indians have been the beneficiaries of some pretty good starting pitching this season. So good, in fact, before Tuesday’s game manager Scott Little suggested a couple of them may be candidates for promotion.
“We have a chance for a few of these guys to not be here very long if they keep throwing like they’re throwing,” he said.
Presumably one of the the pitchers Little was referring to was Tuesday’s starter, Nick Bush.
Bush has been steady all season for Spokane. In his last start, the former LSU standout allowed just one earned run through a season-high five innings, while striking out six Eugene Emeralds. He entered play with a 1.59 ERA in four games with two starts.
The 24-year-old lefty was excellent for five innings against Tri-City – then one mistake undid him.
Bush gave up four of his five hits allowed in the sixth inning, including a three-run home run by Francisco Del Valle, and the Dust Devils topped the Indians 3-1 in the first of a six-game series at Avista Stadium.
The Indians (9-16) managed four hits and four walks against four Dust Devils (9-16) pitchers.
“I felt like I threw pretty well,” Bush said. “I was cruising, and then we got to six inning I felt fine, I just got kind of let one bad pitch go there. One mistake, comes back to bite you. That’s what happens in baseball.”
“I don’t think he ran out of gas, really,” Indians manager Scott Little said. “He had plenty of pitches left and he could have gone back out next inning. He just left his pitch up in the zone. It’s not a great big ballpark sometimes at night. The guy just put the barrel on the baseball.”
Leading off the bottom of the first, recently promoted Isaac Collins smacked the first pitch he faced in High-A to the base of the wall in center for a triple. He scored two batters later on Willie MacIver’s line-drive double to right.
That was it for the Spokane offense.
Bush cruised through three innings, with just a walk in the second against his record. Brendon Davis led off the fourth with a line drive to right center and centerfielder Brenton Doyle tracked it, but the ball came out of his glove just as he collided with the wall.
It went for a double, and Davis moved over to third on a sacrifice. Bush bounced back and struck out the next two batters to leave Davis at third.
“He’s a battler,” Little said. “He’s competitive. What can you say, he did a great job there.”
“You just gotta pretend he’s not even there on base,” Bush said.
“You’ve got to obviously keep him there, don’t want him stealing. But in your mind back you just kind of wash him out. Focus on the hitter and throwing strikes.”
After picking up two more Ks in the fifth, Bush saw trouble in the sixth. With two on and one down he left one up and Del Valle’s long fly ball hit the yellow line at the top of the wall in left center and bounced over for a three-run homer, his third of the season.
Bush came back to earn his ninth strikeout, but the damage was done. Bush allowed three earned runs on five hits and two walks. He threw 53 of his 80 pitches for strikes.
Andrew DiPiazza tossed three innings of scoreless relief for Spokane. He allowed two hits and a walk with two Ks.
Little was disappointed with his offense.
“We did a lot of very bad things offensively tonight,” he said. “We had multiple chances to get guys in from third, we couldn’t get it done. We had some walks, but we ran into some outs.
“We never got it going. Never gave ourselves a chance. We had opportunities early to kind of take some of the pressure off Nick (Bush) but we didn’t come through. There were some very poor at-bats.”
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.