Phillies pitching has been torched for a combined 27 runs in two games this season, despite a pair of aces on the mound. Will their luck be any better with Bailey Falter on the mound? The Rangers are slight home favorites at -115 on the moneyline, with the over/under at 8.5 runs.
Let’s make predictions for Sunday Night Baseball and break down why things may get worse before they get better for the Phillies.
Phillies vs. Rangers Prediction
It’s tough to bet on a sweep, but it’s also tough to have confidence in the left-hander Falter with the way the Rangers have hit so far this season and the way some of their key bats hit lefties.
The Rangers have all of the momentum coming into this one. There should be a nice crowd on hand for the third game of the season and a rare Sunday Night Baseball opportunity for Texas. Adolis Garcia and the rest of the lineup just doesn’t look ready to slow down, and the Phillies’ bullpen hasn’t offered any confidence even if Falter is able to survive the early innings.
Martin Perez was a stable presence on the mound all season for the Rangers last year and should be able to handle a Phillies lineup with some pop.
Recency bias? Maybe. The Rangers hit pretty well last season, however, and there’s no indication they’re ready to slow down against the vulnerable part of the Phillies’ pitching staff. Rangers -115 feels like the more sensible pick.
Phillies vs. Rangers Prediction: Rangers -115
Phillies vs. Rangers Odds
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The Rangers are -115 on the moneyline, with the over/under at 8.5 runs.
The Phillies came into this week with much higher expectations than the Rangers, but back-to-back ugly losses have changed the mood. Is that an overreaction, or is Falter in trouble on Sunday night?
Phillies vs. Rangers Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Phillies vs. Rangers.
Nathaniel Lowe, Corey Seager vs. Bailey Falter
The Rangers generally hit lefties better than right-handers last season, and two of the biggest reasons why were Nathaniel Lowe and Corey Seager. Lowe led the league in hits against lefties, batting .330 with 10 home runs, while Seager led the league in home runs against lefties with 14.
Falter is going to have to dig deep to prevent those two from beating him on Sunday night. He had a fine season overall last year but gave up 16 home runs in just 84 innings – that factors into my Phillies vs. Rangers prediction. With the way the Rangers have been hitting the ball to start the season, Falter will have to find a way to keep the homers to a minimum and hope his offense backs him up.
As bumpy as the first two games went for Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola, the Phillies’ bullpen was an even bigger problem. The unit has surrendered 14 earned runs in two games, and that number goes higher when accounting for unearned runs.
Most of the bullpen was used in the blowout loss to the Rangers on Saturday, so this group might already have some fatigue on Sunday. Either way, it needs to be better with Falter likely not giving them much room for error.
The Rangers’ bullpen allowed a couple runs on Thursday but got a great three innings from Dane Dunning on Saturday. Texas’ relievers aren’t anything to write home about, especially against a strong Phillies lineup, but you have to wonder whether two days of rest will give them the advantage.
Phillies vs. Rangers Starting Lineups
Phillies Starting Lineup
SS Trea Turner R
DH Kyle Schwarber L
C J.T. Realmuto R
1B Darick Hall L
RF Nick Castellanos R
2B Bryson Stott L
3B Alec Bohm R
LF Jake Cave L
CF Brandon Marsh L
Rangers Starting Lineup
2B Marcus Semien R
SS Corey Seager L
1B Nathaniel Lowe L
CF Adolis Garcia R
3B Josh Jung R
C Jonah Heim S
RF Robbie Grossman S
DH Brad Miller L
LF Josh Smith L