Jeremy Hellickson went five strong last time out, in his fourth Grapefruit League start, giving up five hits, a walk, and two runs, one earned. He also had a 5-0 lead before he took the hill against the New York Mets, and the Nationals ended up hitting seven home runs total in an 11-3 win for Washington on the road in Port St. Lucie, FL.
“I don’t know if we’re going to do that every time,” Hellickson told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, when asked about the run-support he received.
“But we’re going to be fine offensively. We’ve got a great group out there. We’re going to add a lot of speed where we’re losing guys from last year. It’s one of the best offenses in the game. I’ll sit in the dugout as long as I need to that first inning. That was fun to see.”
That outing left the righty with a 1.29 ERA in a total of 14 innings this Spring, over which he’s given up 11 hits, three walks, and three runs (two earned), while striking out 13 and holding opposing hitters to a .216 AVG thus far.
Hellickson, 31, who signed a 1-year/$1.3M deal last month, after having something a bounce back 2018 campaign in D.C. which saw him put up a 3.45 ERA, a 4.22 FIP, 20 walks (1.97 BB/9), and 65 Ks (6.41 K/9) in 19 starts and 91 1⁄3 IP, became the front runner for the fifth spot in the Nationals’ rotation as soon as he signed, and he has one start left before the start of the regular season.
He’s lined up to be the fifth starter when the Nationals need one with all the off days early, after Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, and Aníbal Sánchez take their own turns in the rotation.
Hellickson makes one more Grapefruit League start tonight, in a game that’s a radio-only broadcast available on 106.7 the FAN in D.C. and on MLB’s At Bat app.