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)

Royals trounce Rays, Hellickson

ST. PETERSBURG — Stop if you've heard this one before …

Because Jeremy Hellickson apparently did.

Stop, that is, doing whatever was working remarkably well in the first five innings Thursday and instead start pitching incredibly poorly in the sixth, taking the Rays down with him for a 10-1 loss to the Royals.

"Pretty frustrated," Hellickson said.

While the Rays showed a video tribute to the 11,398 fans on hand to acknowledge the return of former ace James Shields, it was infielder Elliot Johnson who was the homecoming king, going 3-for-4 with a three-run homer in his first game as a visitor to the Trop.

"It's hard to describe the first time back," Johnson said. "I wish everyone would get a chance to understand what it's like. It's hard to put into words."

The Rays (35-31) were searching for words to explain how Hellickson could once again go from looking so good, allowing only a pair of singles over the first innings, to so bad in the sixth, allowing eight hits in a 10-batter span.

"A tale of two pitchers in one game: He was pitching well and all of a sudden it went away very quickly," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I can't say fatigue. I don't know that it's a lack of concentration. It's just execution.

"Here's a guy we're really used to him being able to execute pitches, getting out of jams, getting popups, things like that. The ball's not going in the right spot for him. I don't have any solid answers. I really don't."

Equally concerning, neither does Hellickson (4-3, 5.67 ERA), who has allowed a whopping .407 average when teams have runners in scoring position (and .538 when there are two outs).

"It's happened way too many times," Hellickson said. "I felt good. I thought I made some okay pitches there that got hit pretty hard. I really don't know what to say right now."

Hellickson is only part of the problem, as the Rays starters have a 9.47 ERA in the last turn through the rotation, and they have given up five or more runs 19 times, second most in the majors.

"We need all of our starters to pitch better," Maddon said.

It wasn't only frustrating on the mound for the Rays, as they were held to one hit into the sixth inning by Ervin Santana. Typically mild-mannered Sam Fuld struck out to end the game, and he threw his helmet and bat.

"Obviously the whole game sort of played into it, individually and teamwise," Fuld said.

Johnson, however, had plenty to say, including turning to a fan seated near the Rays dugout, whom he felt was heckling him too much.

Between Thursday and the two games in Kansas City, where he was 3-for-7 with his only other homer, Johnson is hitting .545 with two homers and four RBIs in three games against the Rays, and .202 with no homers and three RBIs in 39 games against everyone else.

"I've put together really, really good games, so it's good to get them any way you can, but it feels good to get them against them, of course," he said.

Hellickson said it didn't really matter that Johnson did the damage.

"Eight runs is eight runs," he said. "That's unacceptable."

Royals trounce Rays, Hellickson 06/13/13 [Last modified: Friday, June 14, 2013 10:39am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Why it's too early to give up on the Bucs

    Bucs

    Don't panic. It's not too late for the Bucs.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) and wide receiver Mike Evans (13) celebrate after the defense recovered a fumble during the second half of an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times 

  2. Cannon Fodder podcast: Most important stat in Bucs-Bills game

    Bucs

    Greg Auman talks about the uncertainty at quarterback for the Bucs as they go to Buffalo in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes (24) intercepts a pass from Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) during the second half of an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
  3. Bucs-Bills: Things to watch in Sunday's 1 p.m. game

    Bucs

    FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2017, file photo, Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) runs past Atlanta Falcons' De'Vondre Campbell (59) and Deion Jones (45) during the second half of an NFL football game, in Atlanta. The Bills play against the Buccaneers in Buffalo on Sunday. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File) NY182
  4. Koetter: QB Jameis Winston will start Sunday vs. Bills

    Bucs

    After five days of uncertainty, Jameis Winston will be starting at quarterback on Sunday as the Bucs play at Buffalo, coach Dirk Koetter announced Friday afternoon.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) watches a replay while sitting out with an injury during the second half of an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
  5. Hobart president among fans going to see Ali Marpet vs. Bills

    Bucs

    Bucs center Ali Marpet went to college at Hobart, just over 100 miles east of Buffalo, and the college's president will be among a large group of fans proudly driving over to see Marpet play as the Bucs face the Bills on Sunday.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Nick Folk (2) is congratulated by center Ali Marpet (74) after kicking a game-winning field goal during the second half of an NFL game between the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. The Bucs won 25-23.