BOSTON — Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson was surprised not only to be included on the American League Division Series roster, but to be penciled in as the Game 4 starter against Boston, as well.
Hellickson was 1-7 in his past 10 starts.
“I haven’t given them a reason to put me on it these last three months,” Hellickson said. “I know I’m still capable of being that guy I was in the middle of the year, the last couple of years. I’ve just got to make the big pitches when I need to, and I haven’t done that. It’s pretty frustrating.”
Hellickson, 12-10 overall, was 8-2 during June and July.
Chris Archer, the other option for Game 4, will work out of the bullpen this series. Archer was 1-2 in six September starts.
Hellickson could be used in relief earlier in the series if Tampa Bay needs a reliever to pick up more than two innings, Rays manager Joe Maddon said. Otherwise, Hellickson will face the Red Sox in Game 4 at Tropicana Field should the series go that far.
Why Hellickson over Archer?
“That would just be our little esoteric stuff, us against them mentality,” Maddon said. “Just trying to match it up, trying to figure out, Archer and Hellickson, their strength and weaknesses and how it better matches up against the Red Sox lineup.”
Hellickson sees the postseason as a new beginning to a disappointing year. He’s glad for the opportunity for another start.
I’m very happy,” he said. “It’s, I guess, a little fortunate. I haven’t really given them a good reason to send me back out there. It’s really nice they still have confidence in me to send be back out there. Hopefully it won’t go to a Game 4, but if it does I’m glad I’m going to be that guy.”