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Phillies and Hellickson open series against Cardinals

By Nick Mandarano, Sports Talk Philly Staff  

ST. LOUIS — After a month of May in which they amassed just six wins, the Phillies have started June winning four of their seven games. They opened the month with a series victory against the San Francisco Giants followed by a four-game split with the Atlanta Braves and will now hit the road to take on the St. Louis Cardinals for their first of six meetings in a 14-day span.

The Cardinals, after a winless seven-game road trip, return home where they've gone 14-15. The Phillies, however, have played just .281-ball on the road in 2017 (9-23).

Philadelphia's starting rotation has allowed 3 ER or fewer in each of their last six games, which is the longest streak since Sept. 29, 2016 to April 5, 2017. Relievers Hector Neris (3 ER, 13.2 IP), Pat Neshek (2 ER, 14.1 IP) and Edubray Ramos (4 ER, 18.0 IP) have combined for a 1.76 ERA (9 ER, 46.0 IP) with 49 strikeouts over the team’s last 36 games. 

Starting Pitching Matchup:

Philadelphia Phillies (21-37) St. Louis Cardinals (26-32)
RHP Jeremy Hellickson RHP Michael Wacha
(5-3, 4.50 ERA) (2-3, 4.67 ERA)

Jeremy Hellickson — Age: 30;

  • Last Start: June 4, 2017, vs. SFG: W, 5.1 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 4 SO, 2 HR
  • Career vs. Cardinals: (2-1), 3 G, 19.2 IP, 20 H, 11 R, 11 ER, 15 SO, 6 HR, 5.03 ERA

Hellickson was 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in his five April starts, but since the beginning of May has gone 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA in seven games while allowing 11 home runs. His 13 home runs allowed this season are eighth most in the National League. On a positive note, the Cardinals' hitters have hit a collective .182 against against Hellickson with only one home run (Aledmys Diaz). In 2017, opposing hitters are hitting just .190 against Hellickson's offspeed pitches, but .303 against fastballs.

He threw more than 100 pitches in his last start for the first time since September 2016. More than one-third of his pitches have been changeups (33.14 %), but he has received a swinging strike on only 13.2% of them after posting a 27.8 % swing and miss rate on the pitch in 2016 and a 21.9 % rate over the first 7 years of his career.

Last September was also the last time Hellickson struck out more than 5 hitters (15 straight starts). The last Phillies starter to go 16 straight starts with fewer than five strikeouts was Kyle Kendrick, who went 43 straight Sept. 2009 to July 2011.

Michael Wacha — Age: 25;

  • Last Start: June 4, 2017, @ CHC: L, 4.1 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 5 SO, 2 HR
  • Career vs. Phillies: (1-2), 3 G, 18.2 IP, 19 H, 10 R, 10 ER, 19 SO, 1 HR, 4.82 ERA

In his last three outings, Wacha has yet to finish five innings. During that span, he's gone 0-3 with an 11.91 ERA in 11.1 innings. His average exit velocity against in those three starts was 90 mph, despite in his prior starts it being 83.1 mph, which was tied for the lowest in all of baseball among pitchers with at least 100 batted balls against them through May 24. The Phillies' hitters have hit .341 against Wacha collectively in their careers.

Starting Lineups:

Philadelphia Phillies (21-37) St. Louis Cardinals (26-32)
  Position Player Bats   Position Player Bats
1 2B Cesar Hernandez S 1 1B Matt Carpenter L
2 CF Odubel Herrera L 2 CF Dexter Fowler S
3 LF Howie Kendrick R 3 RF Stephen Piscotty R
4 1B Tommy Joseph R 4 3B Jedd Gyorko R
5 RF Aaron Altherr R 5 C Yadier Molina R
6 3B Maikel Franco R 6 LF Tommy Pham R
7 C Andrew Knapp S 7 SS Aledmys Diaz R
8 SS Freddy Galvis S 8 2B Kolten Wong L
9 P Jeremy Hellickson R 9 P Michael Wacha R

Broadcast Information:

  • First pitch: 8:15 p.m.
  • TV: CSN
  • Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP

Game Notes:

  • Odubel Herrera has recorded an extra-base hit in six consecutive games. During that span, he has ten doubles, two home runs and nine RBI's with a .500 average and 1.167 slugging percentage. His 22 doubles in 2017 lead all of Major League Baseball.
  • Over the last three games, Phillies starters have combined to throw 20.0 innings which is the most by the rotation over a three-game stretch this season, and the most since Sept. 15-17, 2016 (also 20.0 innings).
  • Odubel Herrera is tied with Atlanta’s Ender Inciarte as the most valuable defensive player in baseball, according to FanGraphs' all-encompassing defensive metric at 9.2 runs above average. Among all qualified National League outfielders, Herrera is tied for second with six defensive runs saved.


Updated: June 9, 2017
Nationals 38 21 -- 327 250
Braves 26 32 11.5 267 298
Marlins 26 33 12.0 264 284
Mets 25 32 12.0 281 311
Phillies 21 37 16.5 235 305

What's Next:

  • Saturday, June 10, 2017: vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 2:15 p.m.
    • Busch Stadium
    • RHP Nick Pivetta (0-4, 4.53 ERA) vs. RHP Carlos Martinez
    • TV: CSN; Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP.


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