Opening day for the MLB is here. The Philadelphia Phillies open the season on the road for a three-game set against the Texas Rangers. The first pitch for Thursday’s game from Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas is set for 4:05 p.m. ET. Philadelphia will start Aaron Nola and face a familiar foe in Texas’ ace Jacob deGrom.
At DraftKings Sportsbook, the Rangers are the -135 moneyline favorites. The Phillies are the narrow +115 underdog. The over/under for this matchup is set at 6.5.
Phillies-Rangers picks: Thursday, March 30
Out: 1B Rhys Hoskins, SP Ranger Suarez, DH Bryce Harper, SP Andrew Painter
Out: RP Josh Sborz, CF Leody Taveras, SP Jake Odorizzi, SP Spencer Howard, SP Glen Otto
Aaron Nola vs. Jacob deGrom
Nola has never faced the Rangers. He pitched in 32 games last season and had an 11-13 record with a 3.25 ERA. Nola struck out 235 hitters in 205 innings.
deGrom signed a five-year, $185 million contract with Texas in free agency. He has faced Philly 20 times in his career with a cumulative 9-1 record and a 2.17 ERA. deGrom started one game against the Phillies last year and picked up the win in six innings allowing two hits and striking out 10.
The Phillies lineup is still going to be good despite not having Rhys Hoskins or Bryce Harper starting out. deGrom presents a tough matchup, but they are used to facing him. Nola has a plus matchup as the Rangers' batting order still lacks obvious threats past their billion-dollar middle infield of Marcus Semien and Corey Seager.
Pick: I’m leaning toward this being a pitchers’ duel and keeping the run total low. Under 6.5.
Can deGrom finally get run support? Other than his injury history, the biggest gripe against the former Mets’ ace was that he never got run support and was often on the wrong end of a 1-0 or 2-0 game despite a solid pitching performance. I think Texas has the advantage while he is in the game, but the pendulum swings late in favor of Philadelphia.
Pick: Phillies start the season with an upset and pick up the win.