By all accounts, Jeremy Hellickson had a great day this past Monday. Not only did he make his first ever Opening Day start, he pitched six innings without allowing an earned run in only 79 pitches. He walked no batters, struck out six, and only allowed three hits.
The most exciting development of the afternoon came during the three swinging strikeouts Hellickson earned against Joey Votto. Regardless of the Reds’ struggles this season, Votto remains one of the most patient and accomplished hitters in the majors, and to strike him out even once is an accomplishment.
What was the root cause of Hellickson’s success on Opening Day? There were a couple noticeable features of his outing. Brooks Baseball recorded no four-seam fastballs on the day; he relied exclusively on sinkers and used secondaries more frequently than during his time with the Diamondbacks.