Jeremy Hellickson got the Opening Day start for the Phillies on Monday afternoon against the Reds. He accomplished an Opening Day feat that no Phillie had done since 1918, but he did it in the batter’s box, not on the mound: Hellickson hit an RBI triple in the top of the sixth inning off of Blake Wood. Hellickson became the first Phillies pitcher to triple on Opening Day since Erskine Mayer on April 16, 1918 in the Baker Bowl.
Hellickson, however, regrets hitting that triple because it literally took his breath away. Per Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Hellickson said, “I was catching my breath for about 30 minutes after I got back in there. Last time I’ll be doing that.”
Hellickson’s teammates told him to take some extra time to catch his breath in the dugout before going out to pitch the bottom half of the sixth. He gave up a leadoff double to Adam Duvall before manager Pete Mackanin relieved him with Joaquin Benoit. Mackanin said he had a quick hook with Hellickson as a combination of the triple, the right-hander’s pitch count, the stressful third and fourth innings, and heavy air from a storm that passed through.
The Orioles won their 19th game of the season 11 days ago. The club snapped a nine-game losing streak on Sunday afternoon, taking down the Marlins 10-4 to finally cross the 20-win threshold. Aside from the Orioles, who have baseball’s worst record (20-50), the White Sox were the slowest team to reach 20 wins, securing No. 20 on June 6 — 11 days ago, for those of you keeping score.
Mark Trumbo had three hits including a solo home run, three runs scored, and two RBI. Jace Peterson knocked in four runs, including two with a two-run homer. Starter Dylan Bundy wasn’t particularly sharp, giving up four runs over six innings, but it was good enough for the W.
Coincidentally, the Orioles’ last two wins at Camden Yards came on Father’s Day (June 17) and Mother’s Day (May 13). They were on an 11-game home losing streak.
There hasn’t been any one singular cause for the Orioles’ woes. The club has dealt with a handful of injuries. First baseman Chris Davis is having a tremendously terrible season, so much so that a Baltimore-area bar is offering free shots whenever he gets a hit. Second baseman Jonathan Schoop hasn’t hit anywhere close to the way he hit last year. Free agent pick-up Alex Cobb has a 7.14 ERA over 12 starts. Andrew Cashner has a 4.98 ERA and is on the 10-day disabled list. Zach Britton has been absent most of the season due to an injury, only recently coming back.
No one expected the Orioles to hang with the Yankees and Red Sox this season, but I don’t think anyone was expecting them to reach 20 wins in the middle of June, either.