Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/5/13
Jeremy Hellickson was struggling so the Tampa Bay Rays briefly shut him down. Wil Myers was struggling so he kept playing. Two slumping players two opposite approaches to solve the problems. On Wednesday the two combined to give the Rays a 3-1 victory against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. Hellickson removed from the major-league roster for eight days returned and pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings to earn his first win since July 26. Myers who remained in the lineup during his 0-for-22 skid continued to show signs that his slump is behind him by providing all the offense with a pair of home runs – a solo shot in the second inning and a two-run blast in the seventh that landed in the visitor's bullpen that sits behind the Angels' bullpen in left field. “Those balls were crushed” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “That second really was crushed. That first one was hit well but that second one definitely left hot. It's nice to see that. We can really use that right about now. Those were our three runs.” It was the second straight victory for the Rays who maintained a 2 ½ game lead on the Yankees for the second wild-card spot in the American League. That fact that Myers is rallying and Hellickson seemed to respond to the rest can only help the Rays over the final 25 games of the season. Myers picked up the Rays' offense when he was called up in June. Another hot streak from the rookie outfielder will help an offense that struggled to score runs during the recent stretch where they lost eight out of nine including five straight. Myers was 3-for-4 Wednesday and is 7-for-17 since Saturday when he snapped his slump with a ninth-inning double. He also has five hits in his last two games four of them for extra bases. “The only way to get through a slump is to keep hitting” Myers said. “You can't take games off. The only way to get the feel back is to keep playing. It was big to keep being in the lineup.” Getting Hellickson back to the form that saw him go 8-1 with a 3.17 ERA in 10 starts during June and July will look good in a rotation that features a healthy Alex Cobb and Matt Moore as well as David Price and Chris Archer. Maddon said he saw some signs from Hellickson to indicate that could happen during Wednesday's outing. “I thought he was really under control and felt pretty good about himself out there” Maddon said. “I was looking for that. I didn't see any wear because he had not been out there in a while. I thought his mound presence was intact.”
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