Down on the Phillies Pharm: Iron Pigs Crush the Knights

Outfielder Nick Williams, obtained by the Phillies in the Cole Hamels trade from Texas last season, comes in at the #2 spot on our TBOH Top 10 Phillies Prospects list. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Outfielder Nick Williams, obtained by the Phillies in the Cole Hamels trade from Texas last season, comes in at the #2 spot on our TBOH Top 10 Phillies Prospects list. (Photo Credit: Getty Images) /

The Iron Pigs made up for their offensive struggles yesterday with blowout win

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A combination of excellent pitching and some explosive offense helped the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs rebound against the Charlotte Knights Sunday in an 11-3 win.

Phillies top pitching prospect Jake Thompson had one of his best starts of the season, throwing six shutout innings and allowing only three hits. He walked two batters, but also struck out three in his 93-pitch outing.

Thompson is now 4-5 with a 3.82 ERA this year in 11 starts. He has struggled to produce when he falls behind in the count, as hitters are hitting .241 when they are ahead compared to an impressive .205 when Thompson has the upper hand.

Even more concerning is all 21 of Jake Thompson’s walks have occurred when he gets behind in the count, and his ERA is 1.70 higher in those situations. He hasn’t shown the ability to workout of his jams and makeup for his mistakes.

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Edubray Ramos and Frank Herrmann allowed three runs on five hits in their three combined innings in relief. Each of them did contribute two strikeouts apiece though.

Offensively the Iron Pigs provided power throughout the game. While they only managed four hits against the Knights starter in seven innings, three of those hits were home runs. Darnell Sweeney, Andrew Knapp, and Taylor Featherston each homered early to help give Lehigh Valley a 4-0 lead heading into the eighth inning.

Then, our old friend Phillippe Aumont took the mound for Charlotte.

The former Phillies prospect who was acquired in the Cliff Lee/Mariners trade failed to get an out after allowing five runs off four hits and a walk. One of those runs came off the bat of Will Venable, who hit a solo home run to start the inning.

That wasn’t even the worst of it for Aumont. Here’s the game recap for the former Iron Pig:

"Pitching Change: Phillippe Aumont replaces Anthony Ranaudo."

"Will Venable homers (2) on a fly ball to right field."

"Darnell Sweeney singles on a sharp ground ball to right fielder Nicky Delmonico."

"Taylor Featherston reaches on a fielder’s choice, fielded by pitcher Phillippe Aumont. Taylor Featherston to 2nd. Darnell Sweeney advances to 3rd, on a throwing error by pitcher Phillippe Aumont."

"J. P. Crawford walks. Wild pitch by pitcher Phillippe Aumont. Darnell Sweeney scores. Taylor Featherston to 3rd."

"Nick Williams triples (3) on a fly ball to right fielder Nicky Delmonico. Taylor Featherston scores. J. P. Crawford scores."

"Darin Ruf singles on a ground ball to left fielder Vinny Rottino. Nick Williams scores."

"Pitching Change: Blake Smith replaces Phillippe Aumont."

Needless to say, he was expectedly awful.

Outfielder Nick Williams added two more insurance runs with two outs in the ninth inning with his seventh home run of the season. He finished 2-5 with a triple and the home run while driving in four runs and scoring two of his own.

Williams is hitting .284 this season, but he has struck out 14 times in the last 10 games. He will need to get that number much lower if he wants to play in Philadelphia this year.

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J.P. Crawford failed once again to manage a hit in Triple-A, although he did walk against Aumont. The Phillies top prospect is hitting .179 in Lehigh Valley, although he has found “some” success hitting in the two-hole versus batting leadoff. As the leadoff hitter Crawford is hitting .095 in 21 at bats. Penciled in one spot down the lineup card he is hitting .229 with eight hits in 35 at bats. Nothing earth shattering, but it’s something.

Additionally, eight of his nine walks have come when he bats second. He is also hitting .316 with no outs, but sees his average drop over .200 points once an out is recorded.

Darin Ruf was 1-5 with an RBI against Aumont while hitting cleanup Sunday.

Andrew Knapp’s solo home run was his only hit of the game, giving him a .258 batting average this year with the Pigs. He has 11 hits and eight strikeouts in his last 10 games. In his last four games he has hit .412 with only three strikeouts

The Iron Pigs will travel to Gwinnett to face the Braves Triple-A staff and pitcher Lucas Harrell. Ben Lively gets the ball as he looks to go 8-0 on the season between Reading and Lehigh Valley.