Advertisement
  1. Rays

Hellickson, Rays routed by Royals in makeup game

Rays manager Joe Maddon gesticulates toward home plate umpire Greg Gibson after being ejected in the fourth inning for arguing balls and strikes.
Published Aug. 27, 2013

KANSAS CITY — The conditions for Monday's makeup game against the Royals couldn't have been much different, the sunny 90-degree afternoon a stark contrast from the early May snowstorm that made the Rays return for this awkward one-game trip.

But when it came to the puzzling struggles of Jeremy Hellickson, it was more of the same.

Hellickson lasted 22/3 innings, matching the shortest start of his career, and allowed five runs in an 11-1 loss to the Royals in a near-empty Kauffman Stadium. The Rays' second straight defeat dropped them to 74-55 and 11/2 games behind idle Boston in the American League East, and it made them 1-6 against Kansas City this season.

"We're glad to be getting out of here," Ben Zobrist said. "We just can't catch a break here, or against them anywhere. I'm glad we're not playing them anymore this year."

Hellickson started three of those losses to Kansas City and has failed to go five innings in five of his past six outings (0-5, 9.00), the most recent rough stretch of his roller-coaster season.

"It's very frustrating when you go out there and don't give your team a chance to win at all," Hellickson said.

Manager Joe Maddon said the Rays are not used to seeing Hellickson like this, but Maddon will continue to give him a chance to right himself.

"We feel very confident about him," Maddon said. "It's just been difficult or exasperating to try to get him to get back where he had been. And we're turning over every stone trying to figure it out."

Maddon said he's been "racking my brain" trying to help Hellickson, poring over reports only to find out "there's nothing definitively different about him."

Hellickson doesn't have any answers, either. He feels physically fine and said Monday was actually the most consistent he has been with his command the past five starts.

The Royals didn't hit him very hard, with a few of the seven hits of the bloop variety, as well as an infield single. But he couldn't finish them off, as five of the hits came with two strikes and the Royals fouled off nine two-strike pitches.

Maddon said Hellickson's offspeed stuff wasn't as sharp. "Normally those aren't fouled off," Maddon said. "They're swing-and-miss on those pitches. That speaks to the fact something is a little bit off with Helly."

Rookie rightfielder Wil Myers also had an off day, with the former Royals prospect going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in his return to Kansas City. "I just had a bad game," he said.

Maddon felt the Rays were victimized by a bad call in the fourth inning. Down 5-1, they had the bases loaded with two outs for David DeJesus, who was called out on strikes on a 3-and-2 pitch from Jeremy Guthrie. DeJesus felt the curveball was at his neck, so he argued. So did Maddon, who was ejected. "To reward a pitcher on a bad pitch in a crucial moment, I didn't like that," he said.

Hellickson doesn't like digging his team a hole like Monday, his shortest start since June 30, 2012, when he was hit in the leg by a line drive. But he believes he can emerge from this funk.

"I still feel good about myself, feel confident," Hellickson said. "There's a lot of games left."

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@tampabay.com.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. The Nationals' Juan Soto hits a two-run double off Astros starter Gerrit Cole during the fifth inning of the World Series opener. Soto also hits a solo home run. ERIC GAY  |  AP
    Washington holds on for a 5-4 victory in Houston.
  2. Nicholas, a rescued bottlenose dolphin at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, made his World Series pick. Photo provided by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
    The Astros opened as the biggest World Series favorite in 12 seasons. But check out what’s going on poolside at Clearwater Marine Aquarium before making your bets.
  3. Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer warms up during batting practice for baseball's World Series Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, in Houston. The Houston Astros face the Washington Nationals in Game 1 on Tuesday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) DAVID J. PHILLIP  |  AP
    Predictions from Marc Topkin, Martin Fennelly and John Romano.
  4. Karsyn Waechter, Riley Vigue and Avery Vigue are extending the athletic legacies of their fathers. Alissa Vigue, Special to the Times
    Doug Waechter and former Rays minor-leaguer are passing their love of the game on to their daughters and their teammates
  5. Between the potential of historic pitching matchups, the emergence of Juan Soto and the heroics of Jose Altuve, this Washington-Houston World Series has more going for it than the Vegas odds might suggest. MATT SLOCUM | AP Photo MATT SLOCUM  |  AP
    The Astros are the heaviest favorites the World Series has seen since 2007. Still, there is reason to believe his Fall Classic has memorable moments ahead.
  6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston talks to reporters after an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. The Saints won 31-24. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) BUTCH DILL  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay: What’s next for the Bucs, Astros-National World Series preview, the Lightning’s short-circuit start
  7. Davey Martinez gained valuable experience as a coach behind Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay. But when Maddon exited, the Rays bypassed him for a "new voice," Kevin Cash. Tampa Bay Times
    After failing to land a half-dozen manager jobs, including with the Rays, Martinez and Nats ended up a good match.
  8. Jose Altuve prepares to be mobbed by his teammates at home plate as Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman leaves the field after giving up a walkoff two-run homer to the Astros second baseman in the ninth inning to win Game 6 of the AL Championship Series 6-4 on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. The Astros win the series 4-2 and advance to the World Series to play the Washington Nationals. MATT SLOCUM  |  AP
    New York ties the ALCS Game 6 in the top of the ninth with a two-run HR before the diminutive second baseman wins it with a blast off Aroldis Chapman, putting Houston in the World Series.
  9. In 1968, slugger Frank Howard, known as the "Washington Monument," proved to be one of the few bright spots for the Washington Senators. AP
    The Nationals’ improbable postseason run rekindles memories of the woeful Washington Senators
  10. Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash, on left, along with Erik Neander, center, senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager, and Chaim Bloom, senior vice president of baseball operations, address the media during a press conference at Tropicana Field Friday, Oct. 11, 2019 in St. Petersburg. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Rays Tales: Research now, action to come as Rays get caught up after playoff run. Plus, TV rating info and rumblings.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement