IronPigs and Paw Sox Square off for Opening Day
The IronPigs begin their 2017 campaign with a four-game series with the Pawtucket Red Sox on Thursday night at Coca-Cola Park. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. for Opening Day, which features a commemorative 10th-anniversary fleece blanket giveaway for the first 3,000 fans 18 and older courtesy of Service Electric Cable TV & Communications.
RHP Jake Thompson will make the start for the IronPigs opposite RHP Shawn Haviland for the Paw Sox. Tonight's starting pitching matchup is presented by Allentown Family Foot Care, which provides the latest in medical and surgical treatments of the entire foot and ankle. Learn more at affc.com (LINK).
RHP Jake Thompson (11-5, 2.50 in 2016 with Lehigh Valley) makes his second-consecutive Opening Day start for the IronPigs. The 2016 International League Pitcher of the Year tied for a league-leading 11 wins in 2016 with fellow teammate Ben Lively, and also led the league with a 2.50 ERA. The Dallas native made his Phillies debut after his stellar 2016 season with the Pigs on Aug. 6, 2016 at the San Diego Padres. In his debut, Thompson became the 2,000th player to appear in a game for the Phillies all-time.
RHP Shawn Haviland (2-2, 3.40 in 2016 with the Columbus Clippers) takes the mound for the Pawtucket Red Sox in game one. The Middletown, Conn., native began the season in the Independent League with New Britain Bees where he went 3-4 with a 3.34 ERA, while tossing 94.1 innings and allowed 35 earned runs in 22 games (13 starts). Haviland was then signed by the Indians to a minor league contract on Aug. 5, 2016 and made his debut with Columbus the very next day. The Harvard alum made just seven starts with the Clippers, tossing 42.1 innings and allowed 16 earned runs while tallying a 2-2 record with a 3.40 ERA.
The Pigs roster features six of the Top 10 prospects in the Phillies system, according to Baseball America. Among the featured prospects are SS J.P. Crawford (#1), C Jorge Alfaro (#3), OF Nick Williams (#4), 1B Rhys Hoskins (#6), OF Roman Quinn (#8) and OF Dylan Cozens (#10). Crawford (#12) and Alfaro (#41) also make BA's list of the Top 100 prospects in all of Minor League Baseball.
Cozens, who broke the single-season home run record last season in Double-A Reading, introduced himself to the fans of Coca-Cola Park Tuesday night as he blasted a solo shot to right-center field in his first at-bat with the IronPigs.
Though the hitters feature some of the top talent in Minor League Baseball, the starting rotation may be the IronPigs greatest strength. The rotation will feature the likes of Thompson, 2016 MiLB wins leader Ben Lively (18-5, 2.69 in AA/AAA), Nick Pivetta (1-2, 2.55), Zach Eflin (5-2, 2.90), former No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel (3-3, 4.46) and Ricardo Pinto (7-6, 4.10).
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