Hellickson: Poor command led to May issues

Right-hander finishes month 1-3 with 7.04 ERA after strong April

Hellickson: Poor command led to May issues

MIAMI -- After a fantastic April, May was less than ideal for Phillies starter Jeremy Hellickson. In his final start of the month on Monday at Marlins Park, the right-hander allowed four runs on six hits in six innings in the Phillies' 4-1 loss.

Hellickson was 4-0 in April with a 1.80 ERA, but in May, he was 1-3 with a 7.04 ERA. Nobody is happier to see this month end than the right-hander.

"I think it's just command in general," Hellickson said of the difference in the season's second month. "I think the biggest thing is just not getting strike one, falling behind too much. Not getting the quick easy outs I was getting the first few starts."

He said there isn't any magic formula to return to his April form.

"I'm trying to get ahead. Just missing," Hellickson said.

Hellickson allowed two runs in the first five innings, both coming in the third inning. The big blow in his outing came in the sixth inning, when Marlins third baseman Derek Dietrich hit a two-run home run to right field.

"He did a pretty good job and then hung a change up to Dietrich, and that kind of put it out of reach," said manager Pete Mackanin, who believes the big difference in the last two months has been Hellickson's offspeed pitches.

"I think they're sitting more on his soft stuff," Mackanin added. "His changeup doesn't look like it's got the same action that it had before. To me, it looks like he's yanking his changeup, and it's coming back to the hitter instead of going away from the hitter. I think that's the difference."

It was, in fact, a changeup that Dietrich hit for the home run.

"It was a changeup," Hellickson said. "It was probably top of the zone, but not where you want a changeup."

The Phillies gave Hellickson little support offensively, totaling four hits, including three singles, and walking three times. Philadelphia has just six wins so far in May.

"We're in a rut," Mackanin said. "We've got to battle our way out. We've got to show up tomorrow and get after it."

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.