Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Coming off an award-winning May, Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson faces Seattle for first time

SEATTLE — Sure, Jeremy Hellickson won the American League pitcher and rookie of the month awards for a sterling 4-1, 1.36 ERA run through his past five starts.

But that was so May.

Today Hellickson makes his first start of June, and in the bottom-line world of Major League Baseball, the hovering question is: What can he do next?

"I definitely want to keep doing what I'm doing," Hellickson said. "It's not something I think about that I won an award last month. But I look at it like those (first) two months are over, and it's time to start over again. But I definitely want to keep doing what I'm doing."

The key to Hellickson's success has been making more, and better, use of his fastball. And improving his command of it is something he has been working almost exclusively on during his between-starts bullpen sessions.

"I throw a lot of down and away fastballs; that's pretty much all I work on in the bullpen," he said. "It's one of those things that has to come around on its own, and I've got to work on staying on top of the ball a little bit more. … I've got to establish the fastball before I can throw anything else. If you establish the fastball it makes everything else a little easier."

This afternoon Hellickson takes the mound for the first time at Safeco Field, eager to see how he does given the spacious confines, and for the first time against the Mariners.

"It's a pitcher's park," he said. "I'm excited to get out there again and throw. They have a good lineup. We saw that (Thursday). I have to keep the ball down."

Hellickson is aware he has benefitted from the best run support in the majors — an average of nearly eight runs per nine innings pitched — though that could be tested given the Rays' recent offensive struggles.

Further research showed that Hellickson was the first American Leaguer to win the pitcher (or player) and rookie of the month awards at the same time in the 11 years both have been given out. The only other double winners were Ryan Braun (player/rookie) with Milwaukee in July 2007 and Dontrelle Willis with Florida in June 2003.

Coming off an award-winning May, Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson faces Seattle for first time

06/03/11 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 5:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Sunday Morning Quarterback, Week 5

    Footballpreps

    Team of the Week | Armwood

    Armwood High School defensive end and outside linebacker Fitzroy Gardner during the first half of the Armwood at Jefferson football game in Tampa, Fla., on Friday, September 22, 2017.
  2. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31

    Blogs

    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  3. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win

    Blogs

    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Jake Odorizzi admitted he probably should have gone on the DL sooner than late July for the back stiffness that was keeping him from throwing the ball where he wanted to. He has since found an impressive groove, with another strong outing Saturday.

  5. Matt Baker's takeaways from Florida State-N.C. State

    College

    RB Cam Akers still looks like a former high school quarterback at times. His first two touches (30 yards) were special, but the freshman juked instead of powering ahead on his third (an unsuccessful third-and-1 rush). That's why the Seminoles are easing him in, as they did with Dalvin Cook three years ago.

    Running back Cam Akers carries for a first down during the third quarter as FSU eases the freshman into the college game.