Hellickson's struggles continue as Rays lose 11-1 to Royals in makeup game
The conditions for Monday’s makeup game against the Royals couldn’t have been much different for the Rays, a sunny 90-degree afternoon a stark contrast from the early May snowstorm that made them return for this awkward one-game trip.
But when it came to the recent struggles of Jeremy Hellickson, it was more of the same.
Hellickson lasted just 2 2/3 innings Monday – matching the shortest start of his career – allowing five runs in an 11-1 loss to the Royals, the Rays second straight defeat. The last time Hellickson left a start this early was June 30, 2012, when he was struck in the leg by a line drive.
The Rays offense didn't offer much help, including touted rookie Wil Myers, who went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in his anticipated return to Kansas City for the first time since the offseason blockbuster trade.
Dozens of family and friends had driven from Hellickson’s native Iowa to make up the sparse Kauffman Stadium crowd. But it was another quick exit for Hellickson, who has failed to finish five innings in five of his last six starts and has now lost five straight decisions, the second longest streak of his career; manager Joe Maddon didn’t last much longer Monday, ejected after the top of the fourth after arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Greg Gibson.
As for Hellickson, he’s insisted he’s fine physically, just going through one of those tough moments in what’s been an uncharacteristically schizophrenic season. On Monday, the Royals didn’t necessarily hit Hellickson hard, with several of the seven he scattered of the bloop variety, including back-to-back- opposite field singles to start the game. He just had trouble finishing, as five of the hits came with two strikes, and the Royals fouled off nine two-strike pitches.
Hellickson survived a 32-pitch first inning allowing just one run, but it blew open in the third. Emilio Bonifacio reached on an infield single, a close play at first base. Hellickson then walked Eric Hosmer, with Billy Butler following with an RBI single and Mike Moustakas an RBI double. Salvador Perez knocked in another run with a sacrifice fly and Justin Maxwell had an RBI single before Hellickson was pulled.
The Rays offense didn’t do much to help Hellickson other than Matt Joyce, who had three hits.
Tampa Bay’s best chance came in the fourth, when, down 5-1, it loaded the bases with two outs for former Royal David DeJesus. But DeJesus struck out looking to thwart the threat, sparking an argument and ejection of Maddon.
Cesar Ramos, who allowed five runs in three innings, and Wesley Wright, who gave up one in 2 1/3 innings, helped pick up the rest of the game for Hellickson.
The Rays return home tonight and will resume their homestand with three games against the Angels before heading out on a 10-game west coast trip Friday.