The Texas Rangers haven’t made the playoffs since 2016 but spent a lot of money this winter to change that as they gave former New York Mets right-hander and two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom to a five-year, $185 deal. He will make his Rangers and American League debut on Thursday as Texas hosts defending NL champion Philadelphia. The Rangers are -135 on the MLB odds.
Jacob deGrom Makes Rangers Debut Thursday vs. Phillies as AL Cy Young Favorite
When: March 30, at 4:05 pm ET
Where: Globe Life Field, Arlington, TX
TV / Streaming: MLB Network (JIP at 5 PM), ESPN+, MLB.tv
From 2018-21, deGrom posted a 1.94 ERA with an average of 12 strikeouts per nine innings, in what was perhaps the most dominant multi-year performance by any pitcher of this generation. He routinely hit triple digits on the radar gun over that stretch, topping out at 102 mph. However, deGrom has battled injuries the past two seasons and entering his age-35 season, he has not pitched a full MLB season since 2019 (2020 was COVID shortened).
It was a no-brainer for new Manager Bruce Bochy to name deGrom his Opening Day starter even though deGrom had a minor injury early in camp and might be limited to around 80 pitches Thursday. DeGrom delivered another outstanding performance in Cactus League action last Saturday in his finale, racking up six strikeouts over 3 2/3 scoreless innings against the Padres. He had 6 2/3 scoreless innings with a 0.90 ERA and a 10/2 K/BB ratio this spring.
“You’re talking about one of the elite pitchers in the game,” Bochy said. “It’s an honor to announce this. I know it’s an honor for him. You know, early we had to hold him back a little bit, but we think he’s good to go. We have the day off after Opening Day, so we know we can cover him. We’re not looking for him to take us real deep in the game or anything. This just makes all the sense in the world to us.”
DeGrom, making his fourth Opening Day start overall, will be the club’s 14th different Opening Day starter since 2010. The last Texas pitcher to start consecutive season openers was Kevin Millwood from 2006-09. DeGrom will be the first Opening Day starter in Rangers history to take the mound after having won multiple Cy Young Awards, and just the third Texas pitcher to start on Opening Day after having won one at all, joining Fergie Jenkins (National League Cy Young in 1971) and Gaylord Perry (American League Cy Young in ‘72).
Bochy is in his first year with Texas after being hired as the 20th full-time manager in Rangers history on October 21, 2022. He is the first to take the club’s managerial post after having previously won a World Series title as manager and will be managing for the 1st time since 2019, which was his final year at the helm with the San Francisco Giants. He owns a career managerial record of 2003-2029 (.497) over 25 seasons with San Diego (1995-2006) and San Francisco (2007-19). He will be the first manager in MLB history to manage at least 4,000 games in one league before managing a single game in the other.
The Phillies open the season without two injured starters in two-time NL MVP Bryce Harper, who may not return from Tommy John Surgery before July, and first baseman Rhys Hoskins, who tore his ACL in a spring game last week.
Philadelphia starts right-hander Aaron Nola on the bump. Nola’s sixth consecutive Opening Day start further entrenches him as one of the greatest starting pitchers in franchise history. Only Robin Roberts and Steve Carlton have started more consecutive season openers than Nola. Roberts started 12 straight from 1950-61. Carlton started 10 straight from 1977-86.
Nola concluded the spring by giving up five runs in 1 2/3 innings against the Yankees on Saturday. Nola, whose contract extension talks with the Phillies came to an unfruitful conclusion at the beginning of the day, gave up two homers and four more hits before being pulled. Nola is coming off his second-best season — a 3.25 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 32 starts. He and Corbin Burnes were the only pitchers in the majors with so low an ERA and WHIP in at least 200 innings. Nola struck out 235 batters and walked 29. The only pitcher in MLB history with that many strikeouts and so few walks in a season was Jim Whitney for the 1884 Boston Beaneaters.
“We are not going to get that done at this point,” GM Dave Dombrowski said of contract extension talks with Nola. “We are going to, at this point, break those off. We think the world of Aaron. We’ve talked long and hard with Aaron and his representative about the situation. We think the world of him, quality pitcher, quality human being, but sometimes you just get to this point where you’re just not able to consummate a deal where both sides feel comfortable.”
Nola is +1200 to win the NL Cy Young Award this season.
I have read enough, I need to place my bet now. What to do?
Bet MLB Today
MyBookie Betting Lines for the Game
MLB Betting Center
MLB Odds and Lines
|Make the Playoffs|
|World Series Odds|
|AL Pennant Odds|
|NL Pennant Odds|
Latest MLB News:
- Padres vs Yankees MLB Lines & Pick for Friday Evening
- Athletics vs Mariners MLB Lines & Pick for Thursday Night
- MLB Betting Predictions for the Complete Giants vs. Brewers Series
- MLB Betting Predictions for the Complete Tigers vs. White Sox Series
- MLB Betting Predictions for the Complete Phillies vs. Braves Series