PHOENIX -- Jeremy Hellickson had a pair of starts in the past week that any postseason contender would love to have.If he keeps pitching like this, he could be pitching for one soon.Hellickson allowed three hits and a run in six innings and struck out a season-high seven in Sunday's
PHOENIX -- Jeremy Hellickson had a pair of starts in the past week that any postseason contender would love to have.
If he keeps pitching like this, he could be pitching for one soon.
Hellickson allowed three hits and a run in six innings and struck out a season-high seven in Sunday's 2-1 loss to the D-backs in 11 innings at Chase Field. He has allowed nine hits, two walks and two runs in 13 innings, with 11 strikeouts, in his last two starts.
"Let's just keep pitching like this and see what happens," Hellickson said when asked if he could be pitching himself onto another team.
The Phillies figure to finally trade Hellickson before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, but he only helps the cause if he keeps pitching well. Hellickson went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five starts in April, but was 1-5 with a 6.89 ERA in his following nine starts, prior to pitching well these past two.
His stuff has been much better, including 27 swings and misses in the two starts after having 26 in the previous three. His first five strikeouts Sunday all were swinging at changeups.
"I think it's life on the fastball," Hellickson said about his changeup's effectiveness. "It's getting back to where it was, so it's making my changeup better. I think the biggest difference is the fastball is down, and there's some life to it right now.
"Just got more confidence in it now. I'm throwing it where I want. It's making the changeup better, and I'm just getting ahead of guys. I wasn't doing it for however many starts it was. I've just got to get back to that."
Hellickson continues to be a pro answering questions about a potential trade. He has been answering them since Spring Training 2016, when he figured to be traded before last year's Trade Deadline. But the Phillies held on to him, and he accepted their qualifying offer in the offseason, putting himself into the trade rumor mill again a year later.
"Like I've told you guys, I want to be here," he said. "We'll see."
But wouldn't it be nice to pitch for a World Series contender? The Phillies are 24-50, becoming just the third Phillies team since World War II to lose 50 of their first 75 games. The '61 Phillies (23-51) and the '97 Phillies (23-52) are the others.
"Yeah, absolutely," Hellickson said. "But at the same time, I think we're not that far off with the guys we have coming up. I think if we just stayed healthy this year, it would be a lot better. Yeah, I would like to be here for when things turn around, but at the same time it's always fun to play in October."
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.