Jeremy Hellickson tried to battle his way through flu-like symptoms when he faced Miami in Washington, D.C. back on July 5th. He got knocked around, however, and gave up nine hits, a walk, and nine runs, eight earned, over four innings.
Hellickson recovered from the illness fairly quickly and he went (2-0) in three starts before facing the Nats’ NL East rivals again on Sunday, posting a 2.25 ERA with four walks, 12 Ks, and a .193/.270/.298 line against in 16 IP over that stretch.
Last time out before this afternoon, the veteran righty gave up seven hits, a walk, and three earned runs in five innings on the mound in Milwaukee’s Miller Park, in what ended up a 5-4 loss to the Brewers in which he received no decision.
Three of the hits, and all three runs he allowed scored in his final inning of work in the fifth.
“Hellickson was cruising, pitching well, then all of a sudden, boom, boom, boom, and the next thing you know — that’s the indication for me that it’s time to get him out,” Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters after that game.
It wasn’t really “boom, boom, boom,” but Hellickson did give up back-to-back-to-back two-out singles in the second on Sunday in Marlins Park, with the third hit, by opposing pitcher, Jose Urena, driving in a run for the Marlins, 1-0, and two-out RBI double by Martin Prado in the third gave the home team a 2-0 lead.
Prado came through again in the fifth, lining a two-out RBI single to right to make it a 3-0 game. Hellickson’s outing ended there, after 81 pitches in 4 2⁄3 IP, and both of the runners who were on when he was lifted came around to score, though an error with left-handed reliever Matt Grace pitching meant they were unearned.
Jeremy Hellickson’s Line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 Ks, 81 P, 60 S, 3/4 GO/FO.
Marlins’ starter Jose Urena held the Nationals off the board through six innings, and the Fish bullpen threw three scoreless as the Marlins took the series finale and earned a split of the four-game set in Miami.
“I honestly thought [Urena] was better when we’ve seen him in previous [games]. Today he was all over the strike zone,” Martinez told reporters after the 5-0 loss.
“We worked some walks early, we got some guys on base, and then he settled down and got back in, but like I said, we missed some pitches where I thought we could have hit.”
Hellickson said he felt good, but lacked life on his fastball, and tried to do what he could with what he had.
“I felt alright,” he explained.
“I didn’t feel like I had a ton of life on my fastball, but command was good. Didn’t really have swing and miss stuff. It’s a lineup that battles, puts the ball in play, and they didn’t hit a ton of balls hard, it’s just finding some holes and that’s what they do. I’ve got to think all — that’s kind of the story of the last few games, all my runs come with two outs, and a few times with the pitcher up with two outs, nobody in and I can’t make a pitch, so I’ve just got to bear down with two outs and get that last guy. It’s happened too many games in a row now.”
Hellickson was asked if it was a matter of execution, or of pitch selection in the two-out at bats.
“I mean, it could be both,” he said. “I executed to Urena on that one, it’s just a broken-bat hit, it happens. Just got to find a way to get that third out.”