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Franco, Herrera out as Phillies aim to avoid 10th straight series loss behind Velasquez

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

MIAMI — The Philadelphia Phillies (17-32) — having lost 23 of their last 29 games — will look to avoid their 10th consecutive series defeat Tuesday evening against southpaw Justin Nicolino and the Miami Marlins (19-30) at Marlins Park.

Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez will receive the starting nod, his sixth start this month and fifth career appearance against Miami overall. Third baseman Maikel Franco — who is batting just .209/.268/.349 in 46 games this season — is out due to illness and will be replaced by switch-hitter Ty Kelly.

In Monday's Memorial Day series opener, RHP Edinson Volquez ended his career-long eight consecutive loss skid as the Marlins defeated RHP Jeremy Hellickson and the Phillies, 4-1. With the defeat, the Phillies have matched their worst record through 49 games to start the season since 1961.

Starting Pitching Matchup:

Philadelphia Phillies (17-32) Miami Marlins (19-30)
RHP Vince Velasquez LHP Justin Nicolino
(2-4, 5.55 ERA) (0-1, 5.40 ERA)

Velasquez Career vs. MIA: 2-0, 2.96 ERA, 4 G, 4 GS, 24 1/3 IP, 19 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 3 HR, 9 BB, 23 SO, 1.151 WHIP

Velasquez — who turns 25 a week from Wednesday — is 0-0 with a 6.00 ERA and 1.333 WHIP ratio in one career start at Marlins Park. In his most recent start against Miami on April 26, the right-hander allowed three runs on six hits — three singles and a home run, double and triple each.

The Montclair, California native has lasted six or more innings in just one-third of his nine starts.


Nicolino Career vs. PHI1-0, 2.74 ERA, 4 G, 3 GS, 23 IP, 22 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 2 HR, 4 BB, 8 SO, 1.130 WHIP

Nicolino, 25, last faced the Phillies in a two-plus inning relief appearance on Sept. 17 of last season at Citizens Bank Park. The Marlins recalled the southpaw from Triple-A New Orleans on May 14, when in his season debut against the Atlanta Braves he allowed one run through six innings on six hits and four walks.

The Orlando, Florida native will make his third start this season and his first since May 19.


Starting Lineups:

Philadelphia Phillies (17-32) Miami Marlins (19-30)
  Position Player Bats   Position Player Bats
1 2B Cesar Hernandez S 1 2B Dee Gordon L
2 LF Howie Kendrick R 2 RF Giancarlo Stanton R
3 CF Aaron Altherr R 3 CF Christian Yelich L
4 1B Tommy Joseph R 4 LF Marcell Ozuna R
5 C Cameron Rupp R 5 1B Justin Bour L
6 RF Michael Saunders L 6 C J.T. Realmuto R
7 3B Ty Kelly S 7 3B Derek Dietrich L
8 SS Freddy Galvis S 8 SS J.T. Riddle L
9 P Vince Velasquez R 9 P Justin Nicolino L

Broadcast Information:

  • First pitch: 7:10 p.m.
  • TV: CSN
  • Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP

Game Notes:

  • Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera has the highest defensive WAR among all qualified players this month, 4.4. Herrera rests the first two games of this series, having collected just one hit over his last 21 plate appearances with eight strikeouts and no walks.
  • Marlins first baseman Justin Bour is tied with five other players for the Major League lead in home runs during the month of May, 9. Bour's .663 slugging percentage is also a third May-best, trailing recently-injured Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder Mike Trout (.797) and Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa (.670). Bour went 1-4 with a single and strikeout against the Phillies on Monday.
  • The Phillies have won just two of their last 14 games while facing a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30, notes Kris Barr. Nicolino has a 1.900 WHIP this season through two starts and 10 innings pitched.
  • The Phillies' offense has produced four or fewer hits in five of their last nine games, notes's Reuben Frank.
  • In eight career at-bats against Velasquez, Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is hitless with three walks and three strikeouts. Likewise, Phillies outfielder Aaron Altherr is hitless in seven career at-bats against Nicolino with one walk.


NL East Standings (entering May 30, 2017)

  W L GB L10 Streak Home Road
Washington Nationals 31 19 -- 6-4 W1 16-9 15-10
Atlanta Braves 22 27 8.5 5-5 W1 10-12 12-15
New York Mets 22 27 8.5 6-4 W2 12-15 10-12
Miami Marlins 19 30 11.5 5-5 W2 9-15 10-15
Philadelphia Phillies 17 32 13.5 2-8 L2 10-13 7-19

What's Next:

  • Wednesday, May 31, 2017: at Miami Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
    • Marlins Park
    • RHP Aaron Nola (2-2, 4.34 ERA) vs. RHP Dan Straily (3-3, 3.83 ERA)
    • TV: NBC10, MLBN, Telemundo; Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP


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