Philadelphia Phillies vs. Texas Rangers: Opening Day Game Preview
By Nick Galaida
How to watch the Phillies Opening Day against the Rangers
- First pitch — 4:05 p.m. EST
- Venue — Globe Life Field
- TV — NBC 10
Aaron Nola's 2022 Stats:
- 3.25 ERA, 2.74 xERA, 2.58 FIP
- 29.1 K% / 3.6 BB%
- 0.96 WHIP
Aaron Nola continued to be one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball last season for the Phillies, ranking seventh in FIP among all pitchers to throw at least 100 innings. He dominated both sides of the platoon split, with a 2.66 FIP and a 0.91 WHIP against left-handed hitters, and a 2.50 FIP and a 1.01 WHIP against righties.
Entering 2023, Nola will play for a new contract before hitting free agency this winter. He is one of the most complete pitchers in baseball, and it's possible that we have yet to see the best he has to offer.
What to expect from Philadelphia's lineup on Opening Day
The Phillies will begin the new season without Rhys Hoskins, who tore his ACL during spring training, and Bryce Harper, who is recovering from offseason Tommy John surgery. However, this lineup will have Trea Turner available for the first time in a Phillies uniform after he inked an 11-year, $300 contract this past winter.
In 2022, the Phillies ranked eighth in OPS, fifth in ISO, 20th in BB%, and 15th in K% against right-handed pitching. They will have their work cut out for them on Opening Day at the plate.
Jacob deGrom enters the new season as a Cy Young favorite
deGrom's 2022 Stats:
- 3.08 ERA, 2.24 xERA, 2.13 FIP
- 42.7 K% / 3.3 BB%
- 0.75 WHIP
Before the first pitch on Opening Day, Jacob deGrom has the shortest odds of any pitcher to win the American League Cy Young Award. There is little doubt about his talent — evident from his 2.05 ERA, 2.14 FIP, and 0.87 WHIP since the beginning of the 2018 campaign. The only question mark is durability.
Each of the last three seasons, deGrom has failed to throw 100 innings due to various ailments. If healthy, he is indisputably the best pitcher in baseball. Fans will get to enjoy a good show when he toes the rubber on Thursday.
The Rangers offense looks for better results in 2023
Last season, the Rangers ranked 24th in OPS, 17th in ISO, 24th in BB%, and 26th in K% against right-handed pitching. By nearly all accounts, they were a bottom-tier lineup in these situations.
Entering 2023, Texas' offense features the same core — with Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, and Nate Lowe being the three biggest threats to opposing pitchers. After the top of the order, this group leaves much to be desired.
Nola and deGrom may win the Cy Young Award in their respective league in 2023. As a result, fans should expect a low-scoring affair, with an emphasis placed on the little things — playing strong defense, running the bases well, and making good swing decisions at the plate.
Though deGrom is the more talented starting pitcher, Philadelphia has a better offense and bullpen than their Opening Day opponent. The Phillies are well-positioned to come away with a victory in the season opener.