Entering today’s game, the Tampa Bay Rays had to hope that Jeremy Hellickson could continue to be as successful as he was in the regular season. While Hellickson was a top rated prospect and posted a shiny 2.95 ERA during the regular season, his peripheral statistics — notably, his strikeout and walk rates, and his Batting Average on Ball in Play (BABIP) — suggested that he had gotten lucky and wasn’t quite as good as his ERA suggested.
You never know when regression is going to hit a player; sometimes a player can keep up with unsustainable streaks for an entire season, and other times their luck runs out in the middle of the year. Right now, it’s looking like Hellickson’s luck this season has run dry.
While the score is still relatively close, Hellickson has been lit up by the Rangers today. He’s been missing his locations all day, and he’s allowed three solo home runs in only four innings — a leadoff shot to Ian Kinsler, and two to Adrian Beltre. He’s allowed four hits and one walk, and in many ways, the Rays should be grateful that the score is still so close.
Matt Moore — the rookie starter that won Game One for the Rays — is warming in the Rays’ bullpen and will likely be coming in to start the fifth inning. But for him to make any difference, the Rays’ offense needs to get going. So far, they’ve struck out 7 times in only three innings against Matt Harrison; they need to start making contact….soon.