Andrew Knapp’s solo shot in the 13th inning was the headline grabber in the Phillies’ big 4-3 walkoff win yesterday against the Nationals, but there is no doubt that he wouldn’t have had the opportunity to play hero without the three shutout innings delivered by reliever Jake Thompson. The clutch performance was undoubtedly a bright spot for Thompson, who was recalled yesterday morning for the eighth time since making his Major League debut in August of 2016, in what has been an otherwise relatively underwhelming tenure since coming here as one of the key pieces of the Cole Hamels deal almost three years ago. But, as you probably could have guessed, three innings of shutout baseball from a middling reliever isn’t the story here. The story is what played out on Twitter during Thompson’s outing.
Worth looking into, Kyle. 100% a burner account. If Jake Thompson is even worth your time, that is
— TJS (@tjsphillies) July 1, 2018
It’s most certainly worth my time.
Indeed, what we found after a brief look at the since deactivated @KeithKeith08 account was a series of tweets defending Thompson’s performance, criticizing the Phillies’ usage of him, and blaming other players when things didn’t go his way.
The account took exception to this tweet from The Good Phight’s John Stolnis:
I know Kapler has no choice here but a 3rd inning of Jake Thompson is suicide.
— John Stolnis (@JohnStolnis) July 1, 2018
Seems aggressively defensive, no?
In a September 8 game last year at Washington, Thompson took the loss in an 11-10 defeat in which he allowed an inside-the-park-grand slam to the Nationals’ Michael Taylor:
Here's the radio call of the Taylor inside the park grand slam, if you're interested. pic.twitter.com/JS0TcZn20n
— Jacob Rasch (@serious_jammage) September 9, 2017
Ahead of a game between the two teams a few weeks later that was also started by Thompson, Nationals broadcaster Dave Jageler tweeted this seemingly innocuous note:
Phillies starter Jake Thompson faced the Nats on 9/8…an 11-10 Nats W…Thompson gave up 7 runs in 5 innings including Taylor in park slam
— Dave Jageler (@DaveJageler) September 26, 2017
To which @KeithKeith08 replied:
More from early last August after Thompson allowed seven runs in five innings of work in a 7-0 loss against the Angels:
There’s also this interaction that took place during a late February spring training against the Orioles in which a leadoff walk, catcher’s interference, balk, and wild pitch led to a run:
That’s next-level pettiness. If criticizing a catcher’s interference to excuse away a leadoff walk, balk, and wild pitch in a spring training game isn’t a dead give away that the account has a direct link to Thompson, I don’t know what it is. I guess it’s possible that @KeithKeith08 (Keith also happens to be Thompson’s middle name) just really likes what he brings to the table. Sure. Is it more likely that the account is linked to a Thompson friend or relative? Absolutely.
Specific tweets compared his production to that of Phillies ace Aaron Nola, lamented his inconsistent role with the team, and blamed teammates for poor performances. To be fair, this burner account drama isn’t of Bryan Colangelo levels. The account is most certainly not run by Thompson given the timing of several of the tweets, but unless he has a REALLY supportive fan out there, it was likely operated by a friend or relative of his. Does it make the account owner a bad person? Not really. I get wanting to defend someone you’re close to and all, but I’m not sure you’re going to change what fans think about someone by firing off some defensive and blame-deflecting tweets.
Who said baseball lacks drama?