MLB Odds, Picks for Phillies vs. Rangers: Betting Value on Underdog
Quinn Harris/Getty Images. Pictured: Texas Rangers starting pitcher Jon Gray #22.
- The Texas Rangers (+120) delivered an impressive 7-0 shutout performance against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday.
- Today, Rangers pitcher Jon Gray will do battle against Phillies ace Zack Wheeler, whose presence on the mound has elevated Philly to around -145 across the betting market.
- MLB betting analyst Doug Ziefel previews today's game, including updated odds, plus his picks and predictions for Phillies vs. Rangers at 4:05 p.m. ET on Wednesday, June 22.
Phillies vs. Rangers Odds
|Over/Under||7.5 (-105 / -115)|
|Time||4:05 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
The series opener did not go as planned for Philadelphia, culminating in a 7-0 shutout loss to the Texas Rangers.
Tuesday’s opening matchup revealed a glaring difference between the Phillies’ and Rangers’ respective bullpens. Phillies relief pitcher Jeurys Familia entered the game during the seventh inning and allowed four runs on four hits in one and one-third innings of work.
Contrast Familia’s performance with the collective efforts of Matt Bush, Dennis Santana and Brock Burke for the Texas Rangers. Starting pitcher Martin Perez left the ballgame at the end of the sixth inning, and the trio of Bush, Santana and Burke did not allow a single Phillies baserunner during the last three innings of play.
However, Game 2 may play out very differently with Phillies ace pitcher Zack Wheeler on the mound. Wheeler has been dominant during his last three outings: In 19 combined innings of work, Wheeler has struck out 20 batters and conceded only three total runs en route to three consecutive winning decisions.
Jon Gray will toe the slab for the Rangers, and just like his counterpart, he has been excellent of late. Gray enters with a 2.52 ERA spanning four starts during the month of June. He has allowed seven runs — five of which came in one outing against Cleveland on June 7 — and he has struck out 31 batters in 25 innings of work.
Will this pitchers duel live up to expectation? Or can the Rangers keep the bats hot and roll through Philly’s ace? Let’s dive deeper to find out.
Expect Gray to Excel With Reverse Splits
In the previous section, I discussed the strength of Jon Gray’s recent performances, which also extends to his dominance against lefties. This season, Gray has limited left-handed hitters to a combined .196 batting average. Accordingly, Gray’s advantage versus lefties suggests that two of the Phillies’ best bats may be in for a long night.
Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber are two of MLB’s elite hitters in terms of average exit velocity and hard-hit rate. However, if Gray stifles Harper’s and Schwarber’s offensive impact, then Philly will have big shoes to fill in order to to get on the board. Alec Bohm and Rhys Hoskins are the only other Phillies hitters with above-average exit velocities and hard-hit rates.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Phillies lineup will spend the duration of the evening deciphering Gray’s slider from his fastball. His slider has been his weapon of choice more than 33% of the time, and for good reason: Opposing batters have hit just .188 off Gray’s slider this season.
Still, that is not the only weapon in his pitching arsenal. Gray will throw his slider against both lefties and righties, but with multiple left-handed bats in Philly’s lineup, Gray will also mix in quite a few changeups.
His changeup is a weapon almost exclusively reserved for left-handed hitters. In fact, Gray has only thrown 17 changeups to righties all season. Lefties have done virtually nothing against Gray’s changeup, which has produced a batting average against (BAA) of .077.
Gray may be the underdog, but he draws the better matchup between Wednesday’s two starting pitchers.
Philadelphia’s Bullpen is Vulnerable
Famila’s most recent outing adds to an ever-growing list of poor performances from the Philadelphia bullpen. The Phillies enter today’s matchup with the seventh-worst bullpen ERA in the majors. Expect the Rangers to do everything they can to get Wheeler out of the game so that they can pounce on Philly’s bullpen.
However, it is no easy task to force Zack Wheeler off the mound. He has become a bulldog since joining the Phillies in 2020. Furthermore, Wheeler has delivered six or more complete innings in eight of his last nine appearances. So, in order for Texas to attack the vulnerable Philadelphia bullpen, it must do one of two things: Either hunt fastballs early in at-bats — or work deep counts.
Texas has not been a very patient lineup this year, as evidenced by the team’s walk rate (2.72) that ranks 27th in MLB. However, the Rangers feature several players who can turn around a fastball. Adolis Garcia, Brad Miller and Nathaniel Lowe each report above-average exit velocities.
Last night, we witnessed how dangerous this Rangers lineup can be. Nevertheless, Texas must pounce on every mistake against Wheeler if it wants to win this game.
Phillies vs. Rangers Pick
Ironically, in a matchup featuring the Phillies’ ace starting pitcher, it is the Rangers who have the edge on the mound. Gray has been tremendous against lefties, and he has the arsenal to contain Philly’s big bats.
On the other side, getting to Wheeler will not be easy, but the Rangers have shown that they can hit the hard stuff. If they work the count a bit, we could see an earlier exit than expected from Wheeler. That, in turn, would put the Phillies even further behind as they get into their bullpen.
Back the Rangers, who are very live dogs here.
Pick: Rangers +125