ANAHEIM, Calif. — There is a replica Hollywood down the street at Disneyland, but Phillies pitcher Jake Thompson went through a very real tinsel town audition Wednesday night at Angel Stadium.
If manager Pete Mackanin was the casting director, Thompson probably wouldn’t be getting a callback after a 7-0 thrashing against the Los Angeles Angels (see Instant Replay).
Mike Trout, C.J. Cron and Kaleb Cowart each pelted Thompson with third-inning home runs as the Angels did all their damage at once. Cron and Cowart went back to back, as Thompson set a new career high for homers allowed in a game. The other seven innings of clean baseball by Thompson, Adam Morgan and Jesen Therrien were rendered moot.
“Well, there’s not a whole lot you can say,” Mackanin said when asked how he would address the 23-year-old right-hander. “I would just as soon not talk to him until tomorrow. Just let him cool off, let him think about it, and then we’ll discuss it tomorrow.”
Thompson and Mackanin both agreed that control issues were the cause of the disastrous third. Thompson grimly recognized that he served up a “fastball that Trout hits out nine times out of 10 in that count,” he said. Of the 33 pitches Thompson threw in the inning, 19 were strikes.
Unfortunately, too many of them were right down the middle.
“It’s all about command of your stuff,” Mackanin said. “I’ve said it so many times, but a pitcher’s best pitch is command. And he didn’t have good command today. He left a lot of balls right out in the middle of the plate. When you do that, you are going to get burned.”
Said Thompson: “I have to be able to stop the bleeding sometimes, and I couldn’t do it tonight.”
Mackanin was asked whether Thompson would get another start or be sent back down to the minors. Mackanin would not commit either way.
“We’ll talk about that,” Mackanin said. “I’m not sure. See what we got.”
It is the time of the season for Mackanin and the Phillies to figure out which players in the organization can and cannot contribute. It’s a process the bullpen is going through, as evidenced by the three solid scoreless innings of relief Morgan and Therrien provided.
Bringing right-hander Edubray Ramos back up from Triple A is another hint at what is going on.
Ramos wasn’t used against the Angels, but should be ticketed for plenty of late-inning work, Mackanin said.
At the end of his prior stint in the majors this season, Ramos’ poor attitude contributed to his poor performance. The 24-year-old gave up nine earned runs in five appearances at the end of June, but Ramos believes he is ready to show what he can do after a 10-game stint at Lehigh Valley.
“The No. 1 thing was to change my attitude,” Ramos said through a translator. “I think that in the last week I was here in the big leagues, I didn’t have a good attitude. Things weren’t working for me and my attitude wasn’t helping. In Triple A, I worked on that. I also worked on my pitches and stuff.”
Ramos has a chance to show he can and should be on the roster in 2018. It is the same opportunity Thompson hopes to get, whether it is five days from now or later.
Auditions are here. The Phillies are essentially bringing a little piece of Hollywood with them in each of the final 57 games.