Jeremy Hellickson earned back-to-back wins in his last two starts of the first-half of the 2018 campaign, giving up four hits and one earned run in 11 innings pitched in those outings. He got through six innings for just the second time when he faced the New York Mets in his last start before the All-Star Break on July 15th.
“It’s just nice to get to face the lineup a third time through today, help the bullpen out a little bit,” Hellickson said.
Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez had been careful with the veteran, trying to limit him to two times through the lineup throughout most of the first half.
Hellickson went into the All-Star Break (4-1) in 13 starts with a 3.29 ERA, 12 walks, and 49 Ks in 63 IP, over which he held opposing hitters to a combined .231/.280/.389 line.
“[Hellickson] knows he has a job to do and he competes,” Martinez told reporters before the second of three with the Brewers in Milwaukee’s Miller Park.
“Every fifth day he goes out there and competes and he gets outs. He’s been really, really good for us. Really good.”
If this home run by @ChristianYelich would've hit the Toyota Highlander one lucky fan attending tonight's game would've driven away with it. pic.twitter.com/l6Mz1bdoiC— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) July 25, 2018
Hellickson started the game against the Brewers with four scoreless on 65 pitches as the Nationals jumped out to a 4-0 lead, working his way out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the third inning, but the Brewers connected for three hits and scored three runs in a 14-pitch fifth, with the opposing pitcher, Junior Guerra doubling and scoring Milwaukee’s first run, before Christian Yelich connected for a two-run blast that made it a one-run game, 4-3.
Jeremy Hellickson’s Line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 79 P, 55 S, 6/3 GO/FO.
The Brewers tied it up in the seventh, then added a run in the tenth as they walked off on the Nationals with a second straight in the three-game set which wraps up today.
“Hellickson was cruising, pitching well, then all of a sudden, boom, boom, boom,” Martinez said after the loss, “and the next thing you know — that’s the indication for me that it’s time to get him out.”
“When you get four runs you can’t let them back in the game like that,” Hellickson told reporters.
“And I need to get the pitcher out,” he added, “... and you’ve got to keep the ball in the yard. [Yelich is] a good hitter, but you’ve got to make a better pitch and make them get a few base hits. I felt good though, just got to make a better pitch right there.”
“Hellickson was sharp,” Brewers’ manager Craig Counsell said.
“He wiggled out of a jam in the third, but we kept kind of coming, and kept putting some pressure on him, so it was a very good night for our offense to come back from that deficit.”
The other problem, of course, was that the Nats, after scoring four in the first two innings, on an RBI double by Ryan Zimmerman and a three-run blast by Adam Eaton, were held off the board the rest of the way by Guerra and the Brewers’ bullpen.
“We just couldn’t get a hit,” Martinez said. “Zim hit the ball well. Adam Eaton has been doing well, so we just couldn’t get that one hit that we needed. But they battled, they played, had the right guys in there, we just couldn’t pull it off.”