Phillies-Marlins 5 Things: An Audition for Jeremy Hellickson

Phillies (43-52) vs. Marlins (51-42)
7:05 p.m. on CSN

Another extra-inning game Tuesday night, another loss for the Phillies. With the trade deadline nearing, trade candidate Jeremy Hellickson takes the mound Wednesday night looking to get the Phillies back on track.

Here are five things to watch for in Game 3 of the four-game series against the Marlins:

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1. Making an impression
Hellickson gets the start tonight. And it’s a big one for the Phillies. Not so much the outcome of the game, but in terms of how well Hellickson pitches. The righty is the Phillies' best trade chip at the deadline and interestingly enough, he will take the mound against one of the teams reportedly interested in his services, according to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro.

Hellickson is 6-7 with a 4.03 ERA and 98 strikeouts to 27 walks. He is peaking at the right time, too. In his last five starts, the 29-year-old boasts a 2.90 ERA, going at least six innings in each start. With at least two more scheduled starts before the deadline — one of them being vs. the Marlins next Monday — a couple more solid outings are just what the Phillies are hoping for.

2. Not your average Joe
What a month July has been for Tommy Joseph so far. After a cold month of June, Joseph has been on fire in July, hitting .437 with an .867 slugging percetage. Heading into Tuesday’s game, Joseph was tied for fourth in all of MLB with a .400 batting average, fourth in slugging percentage (.867) and third in OPS (1.321) for the month of June. Joseph has really solidified his stranglehold on the first base job.

3. Slumping slugger
The All-Star break came at the worst possible time for Maikel Franco. After a slow start to the season, Franco was crushing the ball and looked to have regained his 2015 form. But after a four-day All-Star break, Franco has come back down to earth, hitting .047 in the five games he’s played since. That’s one hit in 21 at-bats, including no hits and six strikeouts in 10 at-bats in this series so far. It’s too early to be concerned yet, but the rust is showing.

4. Scouting Wei-Yin Chen
The Phillies may rank 26th in MLB in batting average, but tonight they face one of the few pitchers they have had success against as a team. In two starts vs. the Phillies this season, Chen has been rocked for a .354 batting average, a full .100 points higher than the Phillies' season average. Good news, right? Well, not exactly. In his previous start at Citizens Bank Park this year, Chen tossed six innings of two-run ball with six strikeouts. Chen has been a much better pitcher on the road this season with an ERA a full run lower on the road (4.33) than at home (5.51).

5. This and that
• Hellickson is tied for eighth —with Zach Eflin — among NL pitchers over the past month with a 1.00 WHIP. That’s better than Johnny Cueto, Noah Syndergaard and Jon Lester.

• Random stat of the day: Chen does not have a hit in 37 at-bats this season, but is third in MLB in groundball outs with 25.

• The Marlins rank second in MLB with a .272 batting average. In the two games so far this series, the Marlins have hit just .186.

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