Facing Bucs, Hellickson can reclaim swagger

Facing Bucs, Hellickson can reclaim swagger

Phillies right-hander Jeremy Hellickson hopes to get back on track on Friday night against the Pirates at PNC Park.

Hellickson went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five starts in April, looking like an early favorite to represent the Phillies on the National League All-Star team. But the right-hander is 0-1 with a 7.90 ERA in three starts this month. He has not pitched more than five innings in any of those outings.

Meanwhile, Pirates right-hander Trevor Williams will be on the hill for his third start of the season after making his first six appearances in the bullpen. Pitching in place of Jameson Taillon, Williams allowed eight runs (six earned) over three innings against the Dodgers in his first start, on May 8, but he allowed one run in five innings on Saturday against Arizona.

Things to know about this game

• The Pirates are 21-9 against the Phillies since June 26, 2012, including 9-3 at PNC Park in that stretch.

• Phillies first baseman Tommy Joseph entered Thursday having raised his batting average 105 points in his previous 20 games. Since April 20, he has hit .333 with a .413 on-base percentage and a .621 slugging percentage.

• Pirates first baseman Josh Bell, who leads the team with nine home runs, was moved into the cleanup spot on Thursday with Gregory Polanco (left hamstring strain) on the disabled list. Until Polanco returns, the switch-hitting Bell could share cleanup duties with third baseman David Freese.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.