With one start in between, Keegan Thompson picked up where he left off in the Carolina League.The Cubs' 18th-ranked prospect gave up one hit over 6 1/3 innings in his second Double-A start on Saturday, pitching Tennessee to a 2-0 blanking of Chattanooga at Smokies Stadium.
With one start in between, Keegan Thompson picked up where he left off in the Carolina League.
The Cubs' 18th-ranked prospect gave up one hit over 6 1/3 innings in his second Double-A start on Saturday, pitching Tennessee to a 2-0 blanking of Chattanooga at Smokies Stadium.
"He had everything working tonight," Smokies pitching coach Terry Clark said. "His fastball was really on. When he missed, it was in a really good spot. He worked the hitters in really well, he was hard in on them. His curveball was really good, his slider was good. Changeup was outstanding. He had all four pitches really working tonight, he just did a really good job."
Thompson (1-1) lasted three innings in his Southern League debut on June 23 against Mobile and surrendered eight runs on nine hits. But in his final start for Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach on June 14, he pitched seven perfect frames.
"Believe it or not, the mound in Mobile is one of the worst in the league; all my pitchers struggle with it," Clark said. "To get the ball down in the zone was tough. It was also his first start, so he was a little hyped up and just up in the zone. But today he really pitched down in the zone well. He was in the bottom of the strike zone and really went out front of them and got on top of all his pitches. It was really fun to see after he had a bad start the first time. He turned around and showed what he could do."
Instead of mirroring that one bad start, Thompson was closer to the high note on which he ended his Carolina League stint.
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"The biggest change for him is these guys won't swing at a pitch in the dirt very often," Clark said. "He's going to have to push the issue and throw all his breaking pitches for strikes and his fastball for strikes to get them to understand that you do throw a lot of strikes. Then, if you do go out of the zone, they can chase it, but if you don't throw a first strike they're not going to swing at it. He did a great job with that tonight. He threw everything in the zone, but he when he wanted to he went outside of it and they chased it a couple of times."
The right-hander wasn't perfect on Saturday as he opened the game by walking Jimmy Kerrigan. But he retired the next 16 Lookouts before Alex Perez lined a one-out single to center field in the sixth.
"When he walked the first guy, they were on pretty good pitches, so I was like, 'OK, we'll see what he's made of tonight. Is he going to back off?' No, he didn't at all. He went right after the next guy, got him out, then the next guy," Clark said. "And we're sitting here like, 'Wow, he has a no-hitter after five.'"
Thompson struck out Sean Miller and retired Kerrigan on a fly ball to left to end the inning, then fanned Twins No. 7 prospect Brent Rooker to begin the seventh. He exited after walking Andy Wilkins.
Wyatt Short retired all four batters he faced and Jake Stinnett struck out two in a 1-2-3 ninth for his third save of the season. It was the Smokies' fifth shutout of the season.
Cubs No. 22 prospect Zack Short provided the Tennessee offense with a two-run homer in the sixth.
Chattanooga's Dietrich Enns (0-1) gave up two runs on four hits over seven innings, walking one and striking out five. It was his first since he was reassigned from Triple-A Rochester.
Marisa Ingemi is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Ingemi.