MIAMI -- What was even more encouraging than Jake Thompson's dominant start on Sunday was that the Phillies took three of four from the Marlins, and their young starting pitchers led the way.Thompson was the most recent to impress. The right-hander twirled six innings of one-run ball in Philadelphia's 3-1
MIAMI -- What was even more encouraging than Jake Thompson's dominant start on Sunday was that the Phillies took three of four from the Marlins, and their young starting pitchers led the way.
Thompson was the most recent to impress. The right-hander twirled six innings of one-run ball in Philadelphia's 3-1 win in 12 innings at Marlins Park, and he struck out a career-high seven batters while limiting a potent Miami lineup to just three hits.
"Thompson pitched extremely well. That's the best I've seen him pitch since I've seen him pitch," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "He had a great mound presence. He was in total command."
All of 23-year-old Thompson's strikeouts came on offspeed pitches -- four via the slider and three via the changeup. He also induced 10 swinging strikes, tying his career high set last year against the Rockies.
"Being able to show I can throw it for a strike, and then later in the count expand with it was big today, to get some of those swings," Thompson said.
A start like Sunday's gave Thompson something positive to build off of heading into next year. The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder has been up and down with the club this year, and he has posted a 5.31 ERA in 17 career games (14 starts) over the past two years.
"It was nice to have one of those days after the things I've gone through this year," Thompson said. "You know, struggling and bouncing back and forth. It makes you feel good."
The club's No. 3 prospect in 2015 per MLBPipeline.com, Thompson is also another asset acquired in the Cole Hamels trade who is scratching the surface for the Phillies this season. Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro and Jerad Eickhoff all have had an impact this year as well.
If that doesn't offer Phillies fans a beacon of hope, maybe the starting pitchers this series will.
Outside of 24-year-old Aaron Nola, who's been terrific all season, Philadelphia's young arms were strong against Miami. Thompson, Nick Pivetta and Ben Lively each went six innings and allowed two or fewer runs.
"Well, Nola, we think highly of him. Pivetta has a chance to be a real good one," Mackanin said. "Jake, today, was outstanding. If you get performances like that, you can pitch for a long time in the Major Leagues. [Mark] Leiter's made a great impression. So yeah, we've got some good things going."
Out of the current rotation, the oldest of the bunch is 26-year-old Leiter. It's no wonder Mackanin and the Phillies are looking forward to what could be a big leap in 2018.
"This team is definitely really talented," Thompson said. "I think there's been some unfortunate things [that] happen throughout the year. Even yesterday, one of our guys who was playing awesome [Pedro Florimon] goes down. Things have happened, but this team is definitely a lot better than the record indicates."
Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami and covered the Phillies on Sunday.