After the Philadelphia Phillies and Texas Rangers combined for 18 runs on Opening Day, both teams turn to a pair of former All-Star starting pitchers to keep the offenses at bay in Arlington on Saturday.
Philadelphia Phillies (-125, 7.5) vs. Texas Rangers
Saturday will be Nathan Eovaldi’s home debut for the Rangers, coming over after being limited to 20 starts in 2022 after finishing in the top five in the American League Cy Young Award voting two seasons ago.
Eovaldi has had some of the best command of any pitcher at the MLB level with 1.6 walks per nine innings the past three seasons, but has had an ERA of 3.72 or higher each of his past seven seasons with the amount of contact allowed.
Since the start of the 2014 season, opponents are hitting .267 off of Eovaldi and has allowed at least 1.5 home runs per nine innings in three of the past four seasons.
The Phillies counter with Zack Wheeler, who overall had a terrific 2022 regular season, going 12-7 with a 2.82 ERA with 0.8 home runs allowed and 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings. Buried in the overall season starts are the overall home and road splits though with Wheeler posting. 3.84 ERA and .253 opponents batting average away from home compared to a 1.85 ERA and .188 opponents batting average in Philadelphia last season.
There’s also certain pitchers that are notorious for slow starts and Wheeler is one of them, posting a 9-12 record with 4.40 ERA, including a 1-3 record and 5.79 ERA in the month of April last season. Wheeler does not have another month for his career in which his ERA is above 3.81.
Both starters will have their hands full with the lineups they have to face as both bring back much of the same core hitters from last season with the Rangers ranking eighth in the league in home runs last season while the Phillies were sixth.
With neither bullpen improved from last season in which the Rangers were 17th in Major League Baseball in bullpen ERA and the Phillies ranked 24th in bullpen ERA, the offensive fireworks show will pick up where it left off on Opening Day.
The Play: Phillies vs. Rangers Over 7.5