Monday features a fairly light schedule in the bigs with nine games on the agenda. Some familiar names take the mound, but these guys find themselves in a bit of slump. Here, we take a look at three pitchers who get the call and whose teams have strung together losses in their recent outings.
Paul Maholm, Atlanta Braves (3-3, 3.08 ERA)
Its been a bit of a rough patch for Maholm after he started the year 3-0. He was excellent to start the year and did not give up an earned run in those first three starts. The lefty went on to lose his next three starts and will look to get in the winning as he heads into Monday's matchup versus Bronson Arroyo and the Cincinnati Reds. Maholm has given up 13 earned runs in 17 2/3 innings pitched in his three straight losses. His last outing versus the Washington Nationals was a bright spot, however. He did his job going eight innings and surrendering two earned runs on just three hits.
Maholm threw six innings and gave up one earned run in his lone start against the Reds in 2012.
Jeremy Hellickson, Tampa Bay Rays (1-2, 4.71 ERA)
The Tampa Bay Rays are struggling out of the gate with a 14-16 record. The pitching staff is partly to blame as it ranks 12th in the American League in ERA (4.35) and owns the second-worst bullpen ERA (4.72) in the AL. Hellickson has certainly not been immune to the slow start. He has a 1.21 WHIP and a 4.71 ERA which ranks him 11th from the bottom for qualified pitchers. He is coming off a no-decision in the Rays' 9-8 loss against the Kansas City Royals. Tampa Bay has lost four of Hellickson's six starts this season.
Hellickson will take the hill against the Toronto Blue Jays Monday. He was 2-2 with a 2.19 ERA in four starts versus the Jays in 2012.
Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies (2-2, 3.46 ERA)
Lee got off to a great start this season winning his first two outings versus the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets. Its been downhill since as the Phillies have lost each of his next four starts. After giving up just three earned runs in his first two stellar outings, Lee has given up 14 in his next four. The veteran last pitched on May 1. He lasted six innings in a 6-0 loss versus the red-hot Cleveland Indians.
The Phillies travel to the Bay to face the San Francisco Giants who counter with Madison Bumgarner. Lee pitched 10 innings of shutout ball in his only start versus the Giants in 2012. He gave up seven in the Phillies' 1-0 victory.