Philadelphia’s Zack Wheeler nearly won the NL Cy Young Award last year but has not looked the same early in the 2022 campaign for the most part. He’s back on the mound Wednesday as the Phillies close a short home series vs. the Texas Rangers. Let’s see how the Texas vs. Philadelphia teams come in for your favorite MLB Odds.
How to Bet Rangers at Phillies MLB Odds & TV Info
- When: Wednesday, 6:45 PM ET
- Where: Citizens Bank Park
- Probable pitchers (away/home): Martin Perez/Zack Wheeler
- TV: MLB Extra Innings
- Stream/gameday audio: ESPN+; https://www.mlb.com/live-stream-games/
- Opening MLB Lines: Phillies -180, Rangers +170 (total 8)
Why Bet on Texas?
It’s the first series between the Rangers and Phillies since 2017. Texas hadn’t visited Citizens Bank Park since May 2011. It was easily the longest active span since the last Rangers game in any active MLB venue. Since June 2019, Texas has gone 7-18 in road Interleague games.
The Rangers are pretty bad again and outfielder Willie Calhoun, a once highly regarded prospect, has asked to be traded after being demoted to the minors. When the Rangers traded Yu Darvish to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017, Calhoun was the headliner of a return package that also included pitcher A.J. Alexy and infielder Brendon Davis.
Calhoun was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock after Sunday’s victory over the Braves as part of the Rangers’ effort to trim their roster to 26 players. He batted .250 with six home runs in 260 at-bats in 2021 and has gotten off to a slow start this season, batting.136 (6-for-44) with one homer in 18 games. Calhoun does have more walks (8) than strikeouts (6) and insists he believes he can keep that aspect up over the course of a full season.
“(I’m) gonna go to Triple A and put myself in a position to get traded,” Calhoun said. “I do want to be traded. … I don’t agree with some of the hitting philosophies from the new (coaches). I don’t process that (information) too well. I’m not 6-4, 230 pounds; I can’t hit pop-up home runs. I don’t have that leverage.”
It’s veteran lefty Martin Perez (0-2, 3.00) on the mound here. Perez held the Astros to one run over seven innings last Thursday on just two hits, but didn’t factor into the decision. He was terrific but was matched inning-for-inning by Justin Verlander. He gave up an RBI single to Yordan Alvarez in the seventh, but was bailed out from taking a loss with the Rangers pushing a run across in the bottom of the frame. Perez has a 0.69 ERA in his past two starts. He has yet to allow a homer in 21 innings this year.
Perez has gone 2-1, 4.50 (15 ER/30.0 IP) in six games in his career vs. Philadelphia, including 1-0, 5.27 (8 ER/13.2 IP) in three games at Citizens Bank Park. He faced the Phillies twice in 2021 with Boston, one each home/road, going 1-1, 5.59 (6 ER/9.2 IP). He is 9-12, 4.63 ERA in 36 career games vs. the National League.
Why Bet on Philadelphia?
Outfielder Nick Castellanos was scratched from the Phillies’ starting lineup Tuesday as his wife was giving birth so he surely won’t play here. The 30-year-old slugger is off to a good start at the dish in his Phillies debut this season, hitting .286/.358/.452 with three homers and one stolen base across 95 plate appearances.
The Phillies and Rangers made a trade last season when the Phillies acquired pitchers Kyle Gibson, Ian Kennedy and Hans Crouse in exchange for pitchers Spencer Howard, Josh Gessner and Kevin Gowdy on July 30, 2021.
With Bryce Harper the reigning National League MVP and Sixers center Joel Embiid one of three finalists for NBA MVP, the city of Philadelphia has a chance to become the first city with an MVP in MLB and the NBA in the same year since Milwaukee in 2018 (Christian Yelich in 2018 & Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2018-2019). Only one other time in history has a Phillies player and a Sixers player won MVP in the same season: Mike Schmidt in 1980 and Julius Erving in 1980-81.
The Phils made two moves ahead of the series in demoting lefty pitchers Christopher Sanchez and Damon Jones to Triple-A to get their roster down to 26 players before Monday’s deadline. Sanchez posted a 5.40 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 10/5 K/BB ratio over 10 innings in four appearances with the Phillies. Jones had a 9.64 ERA, 1.93 WHIP and 5/5 K/BB ratio over 4 2/3 innings in his four appearances.
It’s Zack Wheeler (1-3) on the mound; he finished second in the NL Cy Young voting last season. He hadn’t looked like that guy this year until last Thursday when he allowed only one hit over six scoreless innings vs. the Rockies. He got 11 missed swings and seven strikeouts with his 90 pitches, and he averaged 95 mph with his fastball. The only hit he allowed was a Sam Hilliard triple leading off the fifth, and he was able to get out of the inning without Hilliard scored.
Wheeler’s velocity ticked up again as he continued to build arm strength following a shortened spring.
“I came out of the game and I felt like I got that little monkey off my back,” Wheeler said. “Just to come out of there with zeros, I think is the biggest thing for me. Just continue to get the pitch count up a little bit. I’m getting to where I want to be. I’m not fully there, but we’re getting there.
The Philly starting rotation has an 85.9 MPH average exit velocity on balls in play which is the lowest of any rotation in MLB (next: MIA, 86.7).
- Rangers are 2-5 in their last 7 during game 2 of a series.
- Rangers are 19-54 in their last 73 road games.
- Rangers are 7-20 in their last 27 Wednesday games.
- Phillies are 5-1 in their last 6 home games vs. a left-handed starter.
- Phillies are 6-14 in their last 20 vs. American League West.
Expert Prediction: Phillies 5, Rangers 3
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