Phillies top pitching prospect Jake Thompson made his Triple-A debut in front of absolutely zero fans on Friday thanks to poor weather in New York state and a swift scheduling adjustment.
With freezing temperatures and snowy weather besieging the Syracuse area in recent days, the affiliate of the Washington Nationals, the Chiefs, postponed the four-game set against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs that was slated to open the 2016 International League season. However, in order to get in some game action and keep their players active, the Chiefs agreed to play two of those games on the away from their home park.
With such a short time frame to make the adjustment to both teams’ plans, operationally, the IronPigs were not able to open the gates for fans to attend.
Playing a double header made up of two seven-inning games with the host club, the IronPigs, playing as the away team on Friday, the Chiefs handed top Phillies pitching prospect Jake Thompson a loss in his Triple-A debut in game 1.
The 22-year-old right-hander, who was one of the key prospects obtained from Texas in the Cole Hamels trade last summer, went a solid five innings, allowing two earned runs on two hits while striking out five and walking two.
Speaking on the IronPigs’ telecast, Phillies assistant director of player development Steve Noworyta was pleased with the effort that Thompson put forth following a troublesome opening frame in which the Texas native gave up a lead-off walk and allowed both of his surrendered runs to score, including one on a wild pitch.
“The first inning, a little shaky, but after that he settled down and basically did what we thought he could do, so it was nice to see that he finished up like he did,” Noworyta said.
Thompson would cruise for the remainder of the outing, facing just one above the minimum over his next four innings of work.
The ‘Pigs would notch just three hits in game 1, dropping the contest by a score of 5-1.
In game 2 of the twin bill, lefty hurler Adam Morgan looked strong, coming off a very good spring with the big league team. Over five innings of work, the the 26-year-old surrendered three hits and allowed one earned run while striking out eight and walking one. Like against Thompson, the Chiefs did their damage early while facing Morgan, plating a run on a Scott Sizemore solo homer in the first inning.
Morgan was sharp in a trio of Grapefruit League outings this spring, posting a 2-0 record with a 2.00 ERA and a .138 batting average against.
Speaking on Morgan possibly getting back to the big leagues, where he recorded five wins last season, Noworyta was optimistic.
“Adam just has to pitch, that’s all.” Noworyta stated. “I mean he had a great spring. I know he was up for that 5th (starting pitcher) spot, but, just continue to do what he did in spring training and he’ll be fine.”
Following Morgan’s effort, Lehigh Valley reliever Luis Garcia allowed the Chiefs to load the bases without recording an out. With the IronPigs clinging to a 1-1 tie, right-hander Andrew Bailey would enter the game with the bases loaded and struck out the first two batters he faced. A wild pitch would then get by catcher J.P. Arencibia to allow the go-ahead run to score.
That 2-1 score ended up as the final, as the ‘Pigs were held scoreless in the 7th. Officially, Syracuse would notch a pair of home victories in a neighboring state.
The loss by the IronPigs left the entire Phillies organization without a win. With all the full season leagues now underway, none of the five teams, the Class A BlueClaws, the Class A Advanced Threshers, the Double-A Fightins, Lehigh Valley and, of course, the big league Phillies, have put one in the win column to date with eight contests in the books.