(Sports Network) - Former American League Rookie of the Year Jeremy Hellickson
hopes to get off to another strong start on Wednesday when the Tampa Bay Rays
continue a three-game set with the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field.
Hellickson, the AL's top rookie in 2011, followed up a terrific first season
by going 10-11 a year ago with a 3.10 ERA. However, he was 3-0 with a 2.51 in
five April starts.
"I think he's one of those guys that will never give in to a hitter," Tampa
manager Joe Maddon said. "For him to get deeper into the game, he's going to
have to get more efficient outs, be quicker in the counts, things like that.
And of course, strikeouts are good once you get to two strikes. But some guys
even try to strike out hitters from the very first pitch, and that can get in
the way also."
The 25-year-old righty, who is 14-12 lifetime at home, has faced the Orioles
12 times (11 starts) and is 6-3 against them with a 2.30 ERA.
Baltimore, meanwhile, will counter with Taiwanese right-hander Wei-Yin Chen,
who was the team's most dependable starter a year ago, as he posted a 12-11
mark with a 4.02 ERA in his first year.
Chen led Baltimore in starts (32), wins, innings (192 2/3) and strikeouts
(154), but would like to reach 200 innings this season, a plateau only one
Orioles pitcher has attained since 2007.
"I know that depends on certain pitch counts," Chen said through interpreter
Tim Lin, "but definitely, I want to go deeper and deeper into the game and
help the team win."
Baltimore started its season in impressive fashion on Tuesday, as Adam Jones
delivered a go-ahead two-run double during a seventh-inning outburst to help
the Orioles to a 7-4 victory.
Chris Davis and Matt Wieters homered i the win, while Jones finished with
three of the Orioles' 13 hits on the day.
Baltimore also received six solid innings from starting pitcher Jason Hammel
(1-0), with the former Ray yielding three runs and just three hits to win his
first career Opening Day assignment.
"It just shows what kind of competitor he is. He knew he didn't have his best
stuff today, but he went out and gave us a chance to win," Wieters said of
Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner David Price held the Orioles to two runs
over six innings and left with a one-run edge that Jake McGee (0-1) squandered
by being rocked for five runs and four hits while recording only two outs.
"I thought we did a lot of really good things today and they got us in the
seventh inning," Maddon said.
Ben Zobrist went 2-for-3 with a homer and two RBI to pace the Rays
offensively, with Desmond Jennings also collecting a pair of hits that
included a run-scoring double.
Baltimore was 10-8 against the Rays last season.
The Sports Network