It was a solid first start for Nathan Eovaldi with the Rangers.
The former Red Sox rotation arm pitched five innings while allowing six hits and three earned runs in the team's 16-3 win against the Phillies. He now will take the mound at Wrigley Field against the Cubs, who will counter with its ace Marcus Stroman.
Stroman was on point in his first start of the season, shutting out the Brewers on Opening Day across six innings.
Who has the edge in this Friday matchup with the Rangers offense looking potent early in the year and Eovaldi easing concerns of any durability issues early on?
Here are the odds and our best bet:
Rangers vs. Cubs odds, run line and total
Rangers vs. Cubs prediction and pick
While both pitchers showcased their high end talent in their respective first starts, it's the Rangers offense that has quickly proven to be far superior to the Cubs. Texas has a better wRC+ by seven points, the difference between league average and slightly below, and have the ability to generate more power. Texas has a slugging percentage of .439 so far this season while the Cubs check in with .398 despite playing a series recently at the hitter friendly Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
This is the first time the Rangers are hitting the road, but I believe that Stroman's inability to generate swing and misses is going to be the difference. Stroman has averaged a well below average strikeout per nine inning rate over the course of his career, below eight, which isn't going to play against a Texas team that's biggest issue has been its strikeout mark at 23%.
If Stroman isn't posting strikeouts, the strong Rangers lineup is going to put the ball in play against a middling defense that isn't likely to keep up in a high scoring affair.
I'll grab the Rangers, who I make the better team, despite being on the road.
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