So the kid from the corn, Jeremy Hellickson, wasn’t so bad, was he?

Geez, how deep is the Rays starting pitching? The rotation gets a night off when a rookie gets a spot, one-time start, and he shuts down the Twins.

Mind you, this is not the Kansas City Royals. Minnesota is a damned fine team, just a game out (as of 10:53 p.m. Monday night) of first place in the American League Central.

Hellickson’s three-hit, seven-inning performance was simply outstanding for the first place Rays. That’s right. That’s no typo. Thanks to Hellickson’s right arm the Rays are in a first place tie with the hated Yankmees.

So Merlot Joe said this one-time tryout was planned… but for how long was it planned? Sorta get the hint that Hellickson, unless he totally implodes, will be back from Durham shortly.

Even if there isn’t room for Hellickson in the rotation, there is certainly room for him in the pen. This worked quite well when David Price was a rookie and it’s been done before. Adam Wainwright and Dan Haren, starters turned temporary relievers in 2006 and 2004, respectively, played critical roles in the Cardinals bullpen as rookies when St. Louis advanced to the Fall Classic both seasons.

Hellickson can do just that.

Hellickson’s performance almost made one forget about Matt Joyce. Is there a more dangerous hitter right now in the Rays lineup? Joyce, though he’s not hitting for average that well, seems to get monster hits at opportune times for the Rays, specifically without Ben Zobrist and Carlos Pena.

All in all this was a fine win and Joe hopes it’s the first of many for cornfed Iowa boy Hellickson.

In case you haven’t noticed folks, this team is good. Damned good.





  1. Danny says:

    glad you included Matt Joyce in your post....i don't hear anyone clamoring for Edwin 'i've been traded 25x' Jackson....kid has pretty good plate discipline and has shown the wilingness and more importantly, the ability, to go the other way - really wish that Maddon would start getting him at-bats vs lefties - he couldn't possibly look worse than Kapler and you can't platoon Joyce forever (maybe Maddon could)

    great debut by Hellboy and Joyce w/ his 250th rbi of the homestand - let's get em again tomorrow!!! GO RAYS!!!!

    • Gatorbuc15 says:

      I feel the same way about Matt, he almost never gets recogniton. And he has helped carry this team more than anyone over the past two weeks. He has got a great eye, quick bat, home run power, and he play's good defense. This guy MUST play every day, or Maddon is a bigger bafoon than I thought he was.

      Please talk about this guy!

  2. Connie says:

    Awesome, MLB tonight has been singing Hellboy's praises. He called in for an interview! And one of the broadcasters even called him Hellboy during the broadcast 🙂

  3. Gatorbuc15 says:

    FINALLY! We're back in first place! Ugh, tied actually, but we have more victories over the Yankmees than they do of us. So, we're on top!
    Hellickson pitched absolutely great for 7 full innings! And when he gave up a home run, he looked like a guy without a care in the world and went back to dominating! Impressive! The fact that he dominated the Minnesota Twinkies and not the Baltimore Oreos in his major league debut makes it that much more phenomanl! This boy was impressive! ABSOLUTELY IMPRESSIVE!
    And how about Matt "The Main Man" Joyce! While everyone else has trouble getting people in, Matt takes 11 pitches, then calmly slaps one the other way and two runs score. Pretty much securing the game for the Rays.
    The only thing I didn't understand was why Joe left Choate into face a right handed hitter in the bottom of the 9th! Choate can't get righties out, so naturally he gives up a leadoff hit, and let's the tyeing run step to the plate. THANKFULLY, he gets the next guy out and Wheeler comes in to finish the game on one pitch.

    All in all though, it was a great game all around! GO RAYS!

  4. Justin says:

    He gambled and left Choate in to face Thome. Giving up the leadoff hit was miserable, but he struck Thome out and in comes Wheeler to face the righty and get the DP.

  5. Justin says:

    Excuse me it was a 4 pitch walk, not a leadoff hit.

  6. Danny says:

    would be nice if we could acquire/call up another lefty for the pen - just not sure if Shouse or Swindle are the answer - don't see too many teams jumping at the chance to trade dependable lefty relievers, but we've made it this far w/ one so let's hope Choate gets better and one of our guys in Durham can pitch well enough in September to make a difference in the playoffs!!!

  7. robert says:

    As the Clash once sang "Go straight to Hellboy!"

  8. Don says:

    What a problem...6 pitchers that can pitch anywhere for anyone...Hellboy has got to feel like HELL today....going..
    Back to the minors to ride the bus and strike out nobodys...
    Don't know how he will take it......don't let an athlete compete with someone much inferior..they get worse..
    Watch out!


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