Phillies vs Rangers: Series Preview, betting odds & predictions

Philadelphia Phillies Zack Wheeler
TAMPA, FL – MARCH 07: Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) delivers a pitch during the MLB Spring Training game between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees on March 7, 2021 at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)

Fresh off another disappointing showing against the division rival New York Mets, the Phillies are sitting at 11-12, 5 games back in the division.

After a day off Monday, The Phillies welcome the Texas Rangers- who spent big money this offseason in Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, and Jon Gray to Citizens Bank Park for a quick two-game interleague series.

Brad Miller, who was a pivotal member of the 2021 Phillies makes his return to The Bank as a visitor also.

Let’s take a look at the projected starters for the series.

TBD vs. Ranger Suarez

The Rangers currently have the most feared letters in all of pro-sports currently slated to toe the slab for them in game one: TBD.

Jon Gray is eligible to come off the 10-day Injured list Tuesday. While nothing is official yet, Gray is expected to make the start for Texas.

In two starts with his new club. Gray is 0-1 with a 7.00 ERA, 8 strikeouts, and a WHIP of 1.00 in just 9 innings pitched. He will likely be on some sort of a pitch count if he is reinstated from the IL. The Phillies will have to get on Gray early and not let him get in a groove.

Ranger Suarez is currently 2-0 in 4 starts thus far, sporting a 4.42 ERA in 18.1 innings pitched. He has done all he can for the Phillies to this point. He doesn’t strike a ton of guys out, so the Phillies will have to play good defense around him.

Martín Perez vs. Zack Wheeler

Perez is 0-2 with a 3.00 ERA in his four starts. The 31-year-old lefty has had some trouble early on getting deep into games, only going four innings in each of his first two starts, both resulting in losses. He followed those starts with a six-inning start in which he allowed two hits. He then went seven allowing another two hits and an earned run. If the Phillies get the Perez from his last two starts, they could be in some trouble.

Zack Wheeler has not been Zack Wheeler by anyone’s standards through his first three starts. He showed some improvement in his previous start against Colorado, but there is still work to do. His 5.79 ERA was much higher before then and he hadn’t won a ball game before that. The Phillies need Zack Wheeler to be Zack Wheeler from 2021 in this game and for the remainder of the season if they want to get anywhere.

Betting information

The Phillies go into game 1 of this series as -160 favorites, while the run total sits at 8. Given that Suarez has struggled up to this point and Gray has also wobbled, betting the over on runs seems like a smart play this evening.

Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire