Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson finished the season 13-10 with a 2.95 ERA, and he's going to be a strong contender for the AL Rookie of the Year. However, there's a convincing argument to be made that he didn't deserve those results, as he posted 72 walks and 117 strikeouts over 189 innings. The advanced statistics don't paint nearly as pretty a picture of his 2011 campaign.
So the beginning of Tuesday's Game 4 against the Rangers might have been a little less surprising than you'd think. In the first at bat of the game, Hellickson started Ian Kinsler off with a fastball for a strike. Then he came back with a changeup, but he elevated the pitch and Kinsler destroyed it. Kinsler hit a towering home run to left field to give the Rangers an instant lead, and keep the Tropicana crowd quiet.
Kinsler came in with 20 regular season leadoff home runs for his career, with seven of those coming in 2011. Sometimes managers like to have on-base ability or speed in the leadoff spot. Kinsler provides those, and provides power, too. Neat!
Hellickson got out of the inning without sustaining any more damage, but he's put his Rays behind in what could be their last game of the season.