Losing Jeremy Hellickson to the disabled list would have probably pushed this team to the brink. At this point, with Aaron Nola an Zach Eflin already out of commission, the brink was starting to appear on the horizon, and the loss of the only pitcher who has been effectively charging into the seventh and eighth innings of games would have taken them a few leaps closer to it.
But nobody was thinking about that yesterday when Hellickson made his start against the Dodgers; they were thinking about how, after a first inning Adrian Gonzalez double made it 1-0 in L.A.’s favor, he actually mowed down the Dodgers, retiring 13 straight batters. It’s the level of effectiveness that has become the norm for the 29-year-old right-hander, who holds a 3.65 ERA after a league-leading 24 starts this season. Sadly, when Hellickson suddenly began a lower back stretching regiment between batters, the Phillies used their precise detection skills to figure out something wasn’t right.
Hellickson was removed after only five innings and 71 pitches, and everyone reacted accordingly.
You know, Randy Wolf will be in town this weekend...— John Stolnis (@FelskeFiles) August 10, 2016
I'm just sayin', you give the guy a glove, and a ball and see what happens, right?
Trash can, scheduled to start Saturday, headed to 15-day DL https://t.co/ErCOcB4F1n— Justin Klugh (@justin_klugh) August 10, 2016
The problems with a young pitching staff really being exposed, everyone of them being pushed to career limits— Matt Winkelman (@Matt_Winkelman) August 10, 2016
The Phillies announced that Hellickson was suffering simply from “back tightness,” which Hellickson himself said was “definitely not something I think will linger more than a couple days.” Reports indicate that he should make his next start and even has a bump in off days to recover thanks to today’s empty schedule.
Still might want to fudge the writing on that Randy Wolf one-day contract, however, just to be safe. You can never have too much pitching depth.