Phillies' Hellickson to face Red Sox rookie pitcher (Jun 14, 2017)

BY AP • June 14, 2017

BOSTON -- Jeremy Hellickson has to hope seeing a familiar foe will allow him to right his pitching ship.

The Philadelphia Phillies, who will likely send Hellickson to a contender later in the season, have to be hoping for the same thing, thus increasing his trade value.

The veteran right-hander, who signed a one-year deal with the Phillies, faces rookie Brian Johnson as the four-game series shifts to Philadelphia Wednesday night after the Red Sox won a pair of extra-inning games at Fenway Park Monday and Tuesday.

This will mark the 15th career start for Hellickson, formerly of the Tampa Bay Rays, against the Red Sox. He is 4-3 with a 4.41 ERA in the first 14 starts.

Those numbers are better than his recent 2017 numbers. He is 0-3 with one no-decision and a 6.85 ERA (6.43 in his last eight starts), allowing 28 hits and five home runs while walking nine in 22 1/3 innings.

Overall, he is 5-4 with a 4.50 ERA for a season that started out very well for him (4-0 with six earned runs allowed) in his first five April starts.

He allowed three runs on 10 hits, including a home run, in a 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in his last start.

"I guess you could say he pitched well enough to win, but he also pitched well enough to lose," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said after that game.

Said Hellickson, who was an impressive 12-10 with the Phillies in 2016: "I just have to keep the ball in the yard. Even the last few games have been good until the sixth inning. I wasn't attacking like I was early. Today I went back to that. Not that I wasn't trying to attack the last few games. Command was a lot better today. The fastball was down for the most part, and off-speed was a little better."

Johnson has made three starts for the Red Sox this season, all coming after being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.

The left-hander has been with the team since his last outing, one that saw him battle through 4 1/3 innings. The Red Sox won the game.

In the start before that, Johnson pitched a five-hit shutout in his Fenway Park debut.

A two-way athlete in college -- playing first base while not pitching at Florida -- he gets to hit for the first time as a professional Wednesday night. He hit 15 home runs in college and had to adjust to the down time spent between starts as a pitcher.

"That was the biggest thing: learning how to keep busy Day One through Day Four before I pitched," he told the Providence Journal Sunday. "I was so used to being a part of the game during the game -- at first base, hitting. I remember watching the other pitcher and always being in tune. Now I more watch the hitters. It took me a year probably when I was in Lowell and then Greenville to change my focus."

Dustin Pedroia has 34 of the current Red Sox's 61 career at-bats against Hellickson, but has had just seven hits, including a homer, for a .206 batting average. Mitch Moreland is 4-for-7 with a homer and three RBIs against the veteran.



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