Phillies-Marlins 5 Things: Jeremy Hellickson Looks to Snap Skid

Phillies (16-14) at Marlins (16-12)
7:10 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet

The Phillies look to get back to their winning ways tonight against the red-hot Miami Marlins after dropping the series opener, 6-4, Friday night at Marlins Park.

Here are five things you need to know for Game 2 of their three-game set in Miami:

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1. Getting back on track
Following a 9-1 stretch from April 20 to May 1, the Phillies enter Saturday's ballgame on a three-game losing streak and losers of four of their last five games.

In another rebuilding campaign, this is what was expected. But through the first five weeks of the 162-game marathon, the Phillies have played an exciting brand of baseball.

They'll look to continue that tonight after a tough loss in the series opener Friday.

After falling behind, 4-0, to Miami in the first two innings Friday night, the Phils fought back in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to tie the game 4-4 before Giancarlo Stanton blasted a game-winning two-run home run off reliever Hector Neris in the eighth frame.

Still, the game featured some highs for the young Phillies. Returning to the lineup after having Thursday off, slumping Maikel Franco showed glimpses of snapping out of his rut.

Franco went 2 for 5 with a two-run homer and a double. Entering the tilt, the third baseman was 2 for his last 24 with just one double and four strikeouts.

Starting pitcher Vince Velasquez settled down after allowing four runs in the first two innings, and grew throughout the game, according to CSN Phillies analyst Ricky Bottalico.

It's a learning year, but it's been an exciting one so far. Let's see what happens tonight.

2. Stop the bleeding
The Phillies turn to opening day starter Jeremy Hellickson to end their current skid - and his own troubles.

Hellickson, who's 2-2 with a 4.88 ERA in six starts, is coming off one of his worst outings of the season in the Phillies' 10-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals last Monday.

The 29-year-old yielded six runs and seven hits to St. Louis, while walking four in 5⅓ innings in which he served up three long balls, something that's haunted him this year.

In his last five starts, Hellickson has surrendered seven homers in 25⅓ innings. Last season with Arizona, the right-handed pitcher gave up 22 in 146 innings. Over his career, Hellickson has given up, on average, 16 homers a season.

Home runs have not been the only thing hurting Hellickson recently. He's struggled with walks over his last two starts, walking seven hitters in his last 12⅓ innings.

This season, he has a 2.87 walks per nine innings.

Keeping the ball in the ballpark tonight is something the Phils need him to do.

3. On a roll
Miami stayed hot Friday night with its 6-4 win and it'll look to do the same tonight.

The Marlins have an opportunity to improve to five games over .500 for the first time since 2014 when they were 20-15. They've also won 11 of their last 12 games.

During this stretch, the Fish have averaged five runs and have a .298 team batting average. Stanton is 5 for 9 over his last three games, while noted Phillie killer Martin Prado is hitting .429 in his last 11 games. Outfielder Christian Yelich has three homers and seven RBIs in his last four games.

In Friday night's series opener, the trio combined to go 5 for 11 with five RBIs.

4. Control problems
Marlins manager Don Mattingly trots out righty Tom Koehler tonight against the Phillies.

Like Hellickson, Koehler (2-4, 7.25) enters tonight with control issues. Unlike Hellickson, Koehler hasn't given his team much of a chance in most of his starts.

Koehler hasn't pitched past the fifth inning since his first start of the season, and comes into tonight's matchup allowing eight runs on eight hits - two homers - in 2⅓ innings in his last start, a 14-5 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers last Sunday in Milwaukee.

The right-hander has a 5.24 walks per nine innings rate this season and is averaging 2.2 walks per outing. He has yet to go a game without walking a batter.

This season, he's averaging under five innings per start, which is abnormal for the Marlins' innings leader over the past three seasons.

5. This and that
• Stanton has homers in two of his last three games and is 1 for 4 in his six career plate appearances against Hellickson with one HR, two walks and a strikeout against the righty.

• Hellickson is 0-1 with a 3.97 ERA in four career starts against the Marlins, allowing a home run in each of his last three outings against Miami.

• In four starts against the Phillies last season, Koehler went 0-2 with a 5.14 ERA. Overall in 11 career outings - nine starts - he's 2-3 with a 4.53 ERA.

• Prado has a career .305 average with 15 homers and 66 RBIs in 103 games against the Phillies.

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