Jeremy Hellickson is in his third full season with the Rays, and after outpitching his FIP significantly in his first two seasons, this year has been just the opposite. He has a career 3.56 ERA, this year it's 4.91. He has a career 4.32 FIP, this year it's 3.94. He's 26 years old and there is time for him to improve, but at this point I feel confident in saying that Hellickson is a serviceable, but not outstanding, starting pitcher.
The Orioles have already faced Hellickson three times this year and have knocked him around pretty good. In the first series of the season they got to him for eight runs in 6 1/3 innings. In May he pitched into the eighth inning against the O's but gave up eight runs (four before the eighth, four in the eighth). In his most recent start, on June 8th, Hellickson looked more like the pitcher who had dominated them in 2011 and 2012, pitching 6 shutout innings with 4 hits, 0 walks, and 5 strikeouts.
Hellickson has made 25 starts this season and in ten of them he has given up four or more runs. In ten of his starts he has pitched less than six innings. Six times, he has given up four or more runs AND pitched less than six innings. The Orioles need to make that happen tonight. They need to win, and they need to smack around a pitcher like Hellickson.
The postseason hopes have been growing dimmer by the day of late, but we know this team is capable of being good. A strong finish to the season, even one that doesn't result in a playoff spot, would leave me satisfied if not happy.
So let's do it.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||TAMPA BAY RAYS|
|Nate McLouth - LF||Desmond Jennings - CF|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Ben Zobrist - 2B|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Evan Longoria - 3B|
|Adam Jones - CF||Wil Myers - DH|
|Matt Wieters - C||Yunel Escobar - SS|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Sean Rodriguez - 1B|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Jason Bourgeois - LF|
|Brian Roberts - 2B||Jose Lobaton - C|
|Steve Pearce - DH||Sam Fuld - RF|