Unlikely Choice: Jeremy Hellickson Asked To Step Up In Big Game

The Tampa Bay Rays facing elimination again tonight will send Jeremy Hellickson to the mound to take on the Boston Red Sox.

Rays_Jeremy_Hellickson_2His selection to start a crucial postseason game comes as somewhat of a surprise after he had a disappointing season posting a 12-10 record with a 5.17 ERA.

His struggles were more pronounced in the 2nd half where he went 4-7 with a 6.23 ERA in 13 appearances (12 starts). The opposition hit .307/.376/.478 allowing 9 home runs in 56.1 innings of work.

Asked yesterday about the possible start he panned that he was probably more nervous sitting up talking about it than he’ll be tomorrow (today) in preparing for the start.

It’s not often that a player has an opportunity to salvage such a disappointing season and put the entire team on his back in such a big game but that is the opportunity in front of him.

Hellickson says his season was not up to par and describes it as “very inconsistent, very frustrating these last few months. I pride myself on going out there every five days and giving us a chance to win and being consistent. I felt like the last ten starts I don’t think I went five in maybe but two of them. So it was very frustrating and it hurt to not go out there every five days and help this team win.”

He was surprised that he got the nod for the postseason start. “I know what I did the last two months didn’t sit too well with the guys making the decisions. And I was very  happy that they still had confidence in me going out there in a playoff game.”

Joe Maddon said he felt that extra rest would be beneficial for Hellickson who echoed the sentiments by referencing his start on September 4th against the Los Angeles Angles on 8 days rest.

In that start Hellickson delivered 5.1 scoreless innings allowing 4 hits striking out 4 and walking 2.  Over the course of the season he made 6 starts with 6 or more days rest and went 2-1 with a 4.01 ERA.

In 3 starts versus the Boston Red Sox this season he has a record of 1-0 with a 3.44 ERA and has held them to a .209 average (14 for 67) striking out 20 and walking 4 in 18.1 innings of work.

Against the Red Sox in his career he has made 13 appearances (12 starts) and posted a 4-2 record with a 4.21 ERA. He has held them to a average of .231 (63 for 273) with 52 strike outs and 32 walks in 72.2 innings of work.

Rays Lineup: David DeJesus (LF), Wil Myers (RF), James Loney (1b), Evan Longoria (3b), Ben Zobrist (2b), Desmond Jennings (CF), Kelly Johnson (DH), Yunel Escobar (SS), Jose Lobaton (C)

Red Sox Lineup: Jacoby Ellsbury (CF), Shane Victorino (RF), Dustin Pedroia (2b), David Ortiz (DH), Mike Napoli (1b), Daniel Nava (LF), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (C), Stephen Drew (SS), Will Middlebrooks (3b )

 

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