Rays Hellickson Quietly Enjoys June Revival
After a rough start to the 2013 season Jeremy Hellickson and with five wins in the month of June tied a franchise record for wins in a month. The other Rays with 5 wins in a month include Matt Moore (April, 2013), David Price (June 2012), and Scott Kazmir (May 2008).
In the month of June he made 6 starts (35.2 innings) and pitched much better posting a record of 5-1 with an ERA of 3.53 and although the opposition hit .268 against him he limited the damage by only allowing 2 home runs.
His month of June included impressive starts against some of the best offenses in baseball, one extremely damaging inning, and inspires hope that with the return of David Price and recent effectiveness of Matt Moore that the Rays missing DNA component of starting pitching will return.
Encouraged By Quality Of Opponents:
Hellickson performed well in the month of June and did so against some of the top ranked offenses in the American League. He defeated the top four run scoring offenses in the American League in Boston (1st), Detroit (2nd), Baltimore (3rd), and Cleveland (4th). Against those four teams he posted a ERA of 2.34 (6 earned runs in 23 innings).
One Bad Start, One Bad Inning:
The big inning has been Hellickson’s nemesis most of the year and that one bad inning skewed his numbers in the month of June. In his June 13th start against the Kansas City Royals he was cruising along and throwing a shutout through 5 innings before giving up 8 runs on 8 hits while only recording 2 outs in the 6th inning. Excluding the Royals game his ERA for the month is 1.80 (6 earned runs in 30 innings). If we exclude the one bad inning in the Royals game his ERA is 1.54 (6 earned runs in 35 innings).
Returning To Normal:
Heading into the 2013 season Hellickson had made 64 career starts and had allowed three earned runs or less in 57 of them. Through the first two months of the season he made 11 starts and gave up more than 3 earned runs in 6 of them. In June he held the opposition to 3 earned runs or less in 5 of his 6 starts.
Still Needs Work:
He had a strand rate (runners left on base) of 82% in 2011 and 80.2% in 2012 but in 2013 he has stranded only 66.7% of his base runners. Much of that has to do with his ineffectiveness with runners in scoring position especially with 2-outs.
With runners in scoring position in 2011 he held the opposition to a .167 (24 for 144) average, in 2012 it rose to .226 (28 for 124), but in 2013 he’s allowed the opposition to hit .357 (25 for 70).
With runners in scoring position and 2-out he held the opposition to a .118 (8 for 68) in 2011, in 2012 it rose to .271 (19 for 70), but in 2013 he has allowed the opposition to hit .471 (16 for 34).
Hellickson Key To Rays Revival:
Even if David Price can come back to be the David Price of 2012 and Matt Moore can continue to pitch as he had his last several outings, the Rays are going to need Hellickson to continue to deliver quality starts every time out while they wait for Alex Cobb to return to the rotation.