Texas Rangers vs. Chicago Cubs Pick & Prediction MARCH 31st 2024

The Texas Rangers tied for the American League lead with 233 homers last season.

After going deep five times already this season, the Rangers will look to flex their muscles once again on Sunday afternoon when they vie for a three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs in Arlington, Texas.

Adolis Garcia belted a solo homer in the Rangers’ 4-3 victory in the season opener on Thursday and joined Jared Walsh and Josh Jung in launching two-run shots in an 11-2 rout on Saturday. Garcia has gone deep in seven of his past nine games dating back to last year’s postseason.

Walsh wasn’t a member of the Rangers last year, although he likely endeared himself to the fanbase with a solid performance in spring training as well as his three-hit, three-run effort on Saturday.

“Impressive night, his first night, wasn’t it?” Texas manager Bruce Bochy said of Walsh. “He’s got a lot of power but he has a good eye at the plate. He squared up four balls, just missed hitting for the cycle tonight. Good for him.”

Reigning World Series MVP Corey Seager had a pair of RBI singles to highlight his four-hit performance on Saturday. Marcus Semien added an RBI single as part of Texas’ 16-hit attack.

“It seems like Adolis is hitting the ball to the fence — or over it — every game, and Corey is always grinding out at-bats. Semien at the top, so just happy to be a part of it,” Walsh told Bally Sports Southwest.

Jon Gray likely would be happy to see the Rangers’ offense continue to give the scoreboard operator a workout as the right-hander takes the mound.

Gray, 32, started the 2023 season with a flourish, winning six of his first seven decisions before seeing more than two months pass until he notched his next victory. He finished with a 9-8 record and 4.12 ERA in a team-high 29 starts last season, his second with Texas.

Presumably refreshed, Gray got off to a fast start following a pair of Cactus League games this month, scattering four hits and striking out seven batters over eight scoreless innings.

A neck injury caused Gray to skip his last start, although he reportedly was no worse for wear after completing a bullpen session the following day.

Gray is 2-2 with a 4.56 ERA in four career starts against the Cubs.

Left-hander Jordan Wicks will get the start on Sunday for Chicago, which began the season with a 0-2 mark for the first time since 2014.

Wicks, 24, navigated his way through Double-A and Triple-A before posting a 4-1 mark with a 4.41 ERA in seven starts in 2023 with the Cubs. He has yet to face the Rangers in his young career.

Wicks likely will need to step up in the absence of ace Justin Steele, who is expected to miss all of April with a Grade 1 left hamstring strain.

“It’s probably better than at least I anticipated,” Chicago manager Craig Counsell said of Steele’s situation. “He’s really much better today. He played catch today, which was a great sign.”

Dansby Swanson belted a two-run homer in the second inning on Saturday before it all went south for Chicago. Christopher Morel recorded two-hit performances in each of the first two games.

–Field Level Media

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