The Philadelphia Phillies have had an interesting start to their 2022 campaign, beginning with an up and down first month that saw offensive slumps, starting pitching questions, bullpen woes, and defensive issues. It also saw double digit run performances, ace-like starts, heroic relief efforts, and an epic turnaround of a young third baseman. Those are the storylines of the season, and it’s only May 3rd. What everything has amounted to is an 11-12 record and a 3rd place standing in the NL East, an acceptable, if uninspiring, start to the season. Opportunities are coming for the Phillies to improve their standing, though, and it starts with a 2 game set with the Texas Rangers at Citizens Bank Park. The Rangers aren’t the slouches they were last year, but this series should still be a sweep for the home 9. Here’s why:

Well, for starters, the Rangers are not that good of a baseball team right now. They’re 8-14, good for last in the AL West and the 6th worst record in the majors to this point. They have the 26th best team ERA in baseball, and Jon Gray, who will be starting Game 1 for Texas, has already been on the IL twice this season. On top of that, the Rangers are batting .223 as a team so far this year, good for 22nd in baseball. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a team stat where the Rangers are not listed in the bottom 3rd. Have the Phillies been world-beaters to this point? Absolutely not, but they are certainly the better team in this series. By comparison just on those two team stats, the Phillies have a .244 team average (8th) and a 4.19 ERA (23rd). Obviously the pitching has left something to be desired, but with Ranger Suarez and Zack Wheeler making starts, the best 2 arms from last season both get their shot to help lower the team ERA against Texas. It’s a great scenario for the Phillies to continue heading in the right direction, especially on the mound.

The Rangers aren’t guaranteed to roll over, though. They made waves this offseason by making 2 huge acquisitions in free agency, signing Marcus Semien, who had one of the best seasons by a 2nd baseman in the history of baseball in 2021, and Corey Seager, a 2 time All-Star and standout shortstop. That new middle infield combination is yet to really pay off for Texas, but they didn’t just lose their abilities to be great players. At some point this year, both of those guys are going to get hot, and they can be a 2 man wrecking crew for opposing teams when they do. Hopefully for Philadelphia, it will not be in the next 2 days as the visit the city of brotherly love. Outside of those 2, Adolis Garcia is the only other name of note in the Rangers’ lineup right now, and the young OF who made his first All-Star game last year has started off the season 18-82 for a .220 avg. So, is Texas an absolute pushover? Not totally, but this is certainly a series where the Phillies should take both games. Playoff teams take advantage of these opportunities, and if the Phils really want to end their 10 year postseason drought, these are the sweeps they need to have.