Phillies-Rockies 5 Things: Hellickson Good to Go; Franco Sits Again - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Phillies-Rockies 5 Things: Hellickson Good to Go; Franco Sits Again

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    Phillies-Rockies 5 Things: Hellickson Good to Go; Franco Sits Again
    CSNPhilly.com
    Phillies-Rockies 5 things: Hellickson good to go; Franco sits again

    Phillies (15-28) vs. Rockies (30-17)
    7:05 p.m. on CSN; streaming live on CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App

    The Phillies' nightmarish skid continued Tuesday as they dropped a second straight game to a Rockies rookie starting pitcher.

    They've been outscored 16-3 in the first two games of this four-game series against a Colorado club that has the best record in the NL and more road wins (17) than the Phillies have total wins.

    Let's take a look at Game 3:

    1. Hellickson good to go
    The Phillies got a scare last Friday night when Jeremy Hellickson hurt his lower back during his seventh-inning at-bat, but they avoided disaster when it was diagnosed as mere stiffness as opposed to something more serious like a strained oblique.

    Hellickson said that night and again the next morning that he felt fine and wouldn't miss a start. The Phillies are thankful for that given the inefficiencies of their rotation, which has just 16 quality starts in 43 games, third-fewest in the majors.

    Hellickson (5-1, 3.44) was locked in last weekend against a weak Pirates lineup but this is much more of a challenge. Don't expect him to set down 16 of 17 batters the way he did in Pittsburgh.

    The Phillies are 8-1 when Hellickson pitches this season and 7-27 when anyone else does. The only loss in a Hellickson start came against the Cubs on May 2, the first of a three-start skid in which Hellickson allowed 12 runs in 13⅔ innings. Of those 12 runs, 11 scored via home runs. He allowed seven homers in those three starts after giving up just two in his first five.

    The Rockies present a lot of challenges and one of them is that they've been the second-best team in the majors this season against changeups, which is Hellickson's go-to pitch. Only the Marlins (.312) have a higher batting average vs. changeups than the Rockies (.286).

    (For reference, the Phillies are 28th in baseball against changeups with a .201 batting average.)

    Then again, not all changeups are the same, and Hellickson did limit the Marlins to one run on seven hits over six innings when he faced them April 27.

    Current Rockies are just 10 for 56 (.179) off Hellickson. Ian Desmond has the only homer (2 for 5, HR, double).

    2. Blackmon the Destroyer
    Charlie Blackmon, good lord.

    The guy has seven home runs in his last five games at Citizens Bank Park. Over that span - Aug. 12, 2016 through last night - Blackmon has more homers at CBP than any Phillie.

    Think about how ridiculous that is. Aaron Altherr and Ryan Howard are next with six homers in 15 and 17 games, respectively. Then comes Freddy Galvis with five in 26 games.

    3. Fading fast
    At 15-28, the Phillies are on pace to finish 57-105. They've dropped 19 of 23 and now have the second-worst record in the majors, ahead of only the 16-31 Padres.

    The offense has been completely devoid of life lately. It's not like these guys are going out and playing with zero energy, but when you don't hit it's always going to seem like that.

    Since May 12, the Phillies are 2-9. They've hit .225/.273/.345 as a team for the second-worst OBP and OPS, ahead of only the Mariners.

    They've been middle of the pack with runners in scoring position over that span, but they have just 89 plate appearances with RISP, which is seventh-fewest in baseball.

    A lot of this can be attributed to the top of the order. Cesar Hernandez is 9 for 54 (.167) with no extra-base hits over his last 14 games. And that vaunted 1-2 in the Phillies' order - a duo which hit close to .350 in April - is down to .282.

    4. Scouting Chatwood
    The Phillies face 27-year-old right-hander Tyler Chatwood (3-6, 5.09).

    He was the Rockies' best starting pitcher last season when he went 12-9 with a 3.87 ERA in 158 innings. He walked 70 and those control issues have continued this season - 27 walks in 53 innings.

    He's been especially wild lately, walking 19 in 21⅔ innings this month. 

    Chatwood averages 95 mph with his fastball and sinker and 88-90 with his slider and changeup. He also throws a high-70s curveball.

    He faced the Phillies twice last year and went 0-2, allowing 10 runs (eight earned) in nine innings. Interestingly, though, no active Phillie has an extra-base hit against him.

    Hopefully, the Phils will be able to make Chatwood work tonight and take advantage of their opportunities with men on base. They stranded the bases loaded three times last night.

    5. Franco sits again
    Maikel Franco and Cameron Rupp are sitting again. Pete Mackanin wants the extremely inconsistent, wild-swinging Franco to sit back and watch for a few days to regroup. He also wants to see some more of Andrew Knapp after a rough defensive week from Cameron Rupp.

    1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
    2. Freddy Galvis, SS
    3. Aaron Altherr, LF
    4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
    5. Andres Blanco, 3B
    6. Odubel Herrera, CF
    7. Andrew Knapp, C
    8. Michael Saunders, RF
    9. Jeremy Hellickson, P