After making his 2019 debut out of the bullpen, Jeremy Hellickson got his first chance to start during the series against the Philadelphia Phillies last week in Citizens Bank Park.
Hellickson, 32, tossed six scoreless against Washington’s NL East rivals in 15-1 win for the Nationals, holding Philly hitters to three hits and four walks in the 100-pitch outing.
“He kept the ball down, he really did,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters after the win in CBP.
“He made some good pitches,” Martinez added. “He mixed his pitches up really well today, and he was attacking the strike zone.”
“When you have a lead like that,” Hellickson said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, “... you just want to stay out there as long as you can and save those guys. I felt really good.”
Start No. 2 for the 10-year veteran began with three scoreless against San Francisco, but a leadoff walk to Buster Posey in the top of the fourth last night in Nationals Park, a double on an 0-2 pitch up in the zone to Brandon Belt, and an RBI groundout by Brandon Crawford got the Giants on the board, 4-1, and 4-2 on a one-out single by Evan Longoria.
That’s all the right-hander gave up through five innings.
Hellickson was up to 79 pitches overall with one out in the sixth, when the Nationals failed to turn a double play on a Gerardo Parra grounder, and with Pablo Sandoval up as a pinch hitter, Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez went to the pen...
Jeremy Hellickson’s Line: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 0 Ks, 79 P, 51 S, 10/3 GO/FO.
Hellickson’s teammates scored five in the seventh to seemingly put the game out of reach, though the Giants rallied with four in the ninth to force Martinez to use closer in a 9-6 win.
Martinez talked after sweating out the win, about the contributions from his starter.
“Hellickson was really good again today,” he said, “... but he threw 100 pitches last outing, today was a little shorter, but he gave us six good innings.”
“I thought it was pretty good,” Hellickson said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman after earning his second win in two starts.
“Command was a little shaky there for a couple batters, but made pitches when I needed to and defense was really good tonight.”
Hellickson talked about mixing things up with his delivery, quick-pitching, and keeping the opposition off-balance again in a second solid start.
“I think I’m keeping them off balance,” Hellickson explained.
“I didn’t throw a lot of strikes with it tonight. It took me until that last inning to kind of figure it out, but it’s keeping guys off balance. I’m able to throw all four pitches out of it, so it’s doing what it’s supposed to do right now.”
After a year-plus together in D.C. since Martinez came on as the manager, and Hellickson signed on as a free agent, does the second-year skipper know what he’s going to get when he sends the veteran righty to the hill?
Their history, the manager noted, goes way back to their time together in Tampa Bay.
“For me, I’ve known Jeremy for a long time, and I know that he’s an unbelievable competitor and he’s very smart out there, he really is, and he knows how to get outs. He’s not worried about striking guys out, he’s just out there trying to get outs, and that’s what he does really well.”