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Spokane Indians notebook: With bullpen stabilized, team hopes bats warm up with the weather

UPDATED: Tue., June 1, 2021

The Spokane Indians entered play on Tuesday tied with the Everett AquaSox for the High-A West league lead in home runs with 24. It’s the other variety of hits that are a work in progress, as the Indians carry a team batting average of .205, which is fourth of the six teams in the league. 

“We get ourselves out more than anybody else gets us out,” Indians manager Scott Little said. “As soon as we remedy that, the kids are going to get better.

It’s all about making adjustments.

“That’s basically what hitting is,” Little said. “That’s what good hitters do – they’re going to get you out, you’re going to get yourself out. But the good hitters get themselves out fewer times than the bad.”

After starting the season 2-10, Spokane went 7-5 in the next two series against Everett and Eugene, two of the three teams at the top of the league. 

“I mean, it’s definitely good to win,” outfielder Niko Decolati said. “This team, though, we got good chemistry in there outside of baseball so we have a pretty good morale. But definitely winning baseball helps to, you know, leave the field on a positive note.”

What’s been the difference?

“I don’t really feel like we’re anywhere near where we’re gonna be hitting-wise, so I’d have to say it’s the pitching,” Little said. “Basically, we pitched well, we scored more runs and the other team – which is a very obvious statement – but we’ve played good defense so we’ve given ourselves chances to win.”

Little thinks they missed some opportunities in Eugene, where they lost two one-run games – including a walk-off against closer Shelby Lackey on Thursday. 

“We actually could have had a better trip on the road than we did,” Little said. “And you know, we lost a couple close ones at the end, so we were definitely better overall.”

“It’s really good right now,” starting pitcher Ryan Feltner said. “Everybody’s having a good time and playing loose, but at the same time we’re really focused. “I think everybody’s starting to come together as a team, it’s coming to that time of the year where people are getting to know each other a little bit better.”

The starting pitching has been solid all season. The biggest adjustment has been from the bullpen.

“We’ve been in these games and the relievers been better,” Little said. “I think we’re gonna have really good starters. We’re gonna have trouble getting all the relievers work, basically, is one of our biggest fears. But it’s a good problem to have.”

Talk about the weather

The start of the home series brought summer-like temperatures. 

“I love it,” Decolati said. “It’s baseball weather.

“It’s definitely gonna be a lot more comfortable in the eighth innings, not having to warm up. I’m used to it so I love this, I’d rather it be hotter than this than cold. I’m ready for it.”

Feltner agreed.

“I like the warmer weather,” he said. “It’s feeling great out here to me right now. We were all bundled up for the first couple of homestands.”

“I don’t know, I liked it when it was a little cool,” Little said. “Put on nice sweatshirt rather than be exposed out there.”

Roster moves

On Tuesday the team announced a series of roster moves. INF Eddy Diaz was sent to Low-A Fresno, while OF John Cresto announced his retirement. 

Utility player Isaac Collins and OF Luke Morgan were moved up from Fresno. Collins, 23, hit .290/.443/.371 with the Grizzlies over 79 plate appearances. Morgan, 25, hit .238/.304/.429 at Low-A.

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