Phillies (18-35) vs. Giants (23-34)
1:35 p.m. on CSN; streaming live on CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App
The Phillies ended their losing streak at five Saturday with a strong outing from rookie Ben Lively and some clutch hits against Johnny Cueto and Giants' bullpen in a 5-3 win. They have a chance to end a string of 10 consecutive series losses with a win Sunday. Jeremy Hellickson takes the hill in opposition of lefty Matt Moore for the Giants.
Here are five things to know for the series finale,
1. Signs of hope
When the Phillies fell 18 games under .500 Friday, there was little, if anything, positive to take away from the game. They were shutout by a rookie starter and Jerad Eickhoff failed to get out of the third inning.
Saturday was much more uplifting for the Phils.
The main takeaway is that Ben Lively can hang in the rotation for a little while. The 25-year-old rookie held his own for seven innings despite not striking out a batter. A few timely double plays helped as he gave up just one run. What a wonder keeping the ball in the park can do for a team. He faces the Braves his next time out, so he gets an opportunity against another sub-par offense before he receives a big challenge.
But it wasn't just Lively coming up big for the Phils on Saturday. Maikel Franco had the Phillies' first hit - a double - and led off the seventh inning with a single before coming around to score the go-ahead run. Later in that same inning, the similarly maligned Odubel Herrera lined a three-run double - his second two-bagger of the game with another bat flip to boot - to provide a four-run lead. The Phillies need those two going if they're going to reverse course this month.
Pat Neshek was solid again but the Phils got a bad outing from Hector Neris. However, Jeanmar Gomez seems to have earned himself some trust and clinched the save, getting the final out. If Gomez can become reliable again, that would help make up for Joaquin Benoit's absence in the short term, giving the team a better back-end moving forward.
2. Turning to Hellickson
Hellickson could use some signs of hope after a lackluster May.
Granted, it wasn't a bad month compared to the rest of the team, but it was a struggle nonetheless. He had a 7.04 ERA in six starts and had a 1.533 WHIP in 30 2/3 innings. He gave up nine home runs and walked 12 while striking out just 13 batters.
And that follows the trend of his year as a whole. He's given up home runs at a higher rate than last season while striking out less than half as many per nine innings. Therefore, he's at the mercy of balls in play and he hasn't induced as much weak contact in his recent starts, including a 4-1 loss to the Marlins last Monday.
It's becoming harder and harder to see Hellickson as someone worth giving an offer large enough that would put the Phillies in line for draft pick compensation if he leaves in the offseason. Therefore, the team could make a larger effort to trade him at the deadline, which is also made tougher by his recent results.
He's 2-2 with 2.86 ERA over 22 innings vs. Giants in his career. Last season, he threw six innings of one-run ball last season to earn a victory in San Francisco, outdueling Madison Bumgarner.
Among Giants batters, Brandon Crawford is 4 for 10 against him while Aaron Hill is 3 for 9 with a walk. Brandon Belt is 3 for 6.
3. Moore pitches, Moore problems
Last year, the Giants acquired the 27-year-old lefty at the deadline and they haven't gotten the performance they were looking for from Moore this season.
The southpaw is just 2-6 with 4.98 ERA over 11 starts and 65 innings. Like Hellickson, he has struggled with home runs, surrendering 11. Walks and control have been an issue his entire career (he once led the American League in wild pitches) and that's no different this year. However, he was an All-Star pitcher with so-so control in 2013, but that was pre-arm surgery.
Moore underwent Tommy John surgery in 2014, a year after his best season, and he hasn't quite been the same since. He hasn't had a season with an above-average ERA since before surgery.
The lefty lives in the low 90s with a four-seam fastball and mixes in an 89 mph cutter. He has a knuckle curve and a changeup in the low 80s to change speeds.
He's 0-1 with 5.06 ERA in two starts against the Phillies. Last season, he gave up two runs in six innings while walking six batters. Howie Kendrick is 7 for 20 with a double, two walks and an HBP against Moore. Cesar Hernandez is 2 for 5 with a double and triple and Michael Saunders is 3 for 8 with a home run.
4. Players to watch
Phillies: Franco had his first two-hit game with an extra-base hit since May 4 on Saturday. The double was his first extra-base hit since May 21.
Giants: First baseman Belt has always had a good eye and has drawn 34 walks this year, but he's also seen an uptick in home runs with 10 already. His career-high is 18, which came in 2015.
5. This and that
• The Phillies haven't won a series since April 26-27, when they swept two games against the Marlins
• They've lost 26 of their last 33 and had lost 15 of 18 before Saturday's win. The Phils haven't been swept at home in a three-game series since April 10-12 vs. the Mets.
• The Phillies are 25th in baseball with a .395 team slugging percentage. The good news? The Giants are last with a .352 mark. In second to last is the team that the Giants beat in the 2014 World Series: The Royals.