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Phillies vs. Rangers Wednesday MLB injury report, odds, pick: Bryce Harper back for Philadelphia

Two-time NL MVP Bryce Harper will return from injury today for the Phillies in Texas.
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The Philadelphia Phillies have lost back-to-back games and scored just three total runs in them without reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper in the lineup due to a blister, but he's in there today at designated hitter and batting his usual third in a matinee interleague series finale at Texas. The Phillies are -140 at Caesars Sportsbook. (See tickets at StubHub)

Harper actually hasn't played since Friday but apparently was available to pinch-hit if needed Tuesday. Because it was a 7-0 blowout loss, the need to use Harper never really arose for interim Phils manager Phil Nevin. In Harper's last 15 games played, the Phillies are 13-2 and he is slashing .404/.492/.750 with a 1.242 OPS. Harper has scored 14 runs, with three doubles, five home runs, 16 RBI and 10 walks over that span.

Overall, Harper has played in 33 of the Phillies' 36 wins this year. His 1.217 OPS in wins is tops in the National League. Harper is hitting .326 with 15 homers, 48 RBIs and a 1.013 OPS on the season and is a +800 fourth-favorite to win a third career MVP.

It appears the Phillies are starting every regular. Outfielder Leody Tavares and catcher/DH Mitch Garver are getting a seat today for Texas, but I wouldn't exactly call them regulars.

Zack Wheeler (6-3, 2.69 ERA), the 2021 NL Cy Young runner-up, gets the start for the Phillies. After starting the year 0-3 with an 8.53 ERA through his first three starts, Wheeler is 6-0 with a 1.40 ERA in his last nine. The Phillies are 7-2 in those nine games and when they give Wheeler at least two runs of support. He threw 7.2 shutout innings on May 4 vs. Texas but got a no-decision.

It's Jon Gray (2-3, 4.27 ERA) for Texas, and he can be as dominant as anyone at times -- and also downright bad at others. The dominant Gray showed up last time out with seven shutout innings in Detroit. Gray is 1-1 with a 2.52 ERA and 31 strikeouts in four June starts. He allowed three runs in three innings on May 3 at Philadelphia but took a no-decision. The long-time former Colorado Rockies right-hander is 4-3 with a 4.29 ERA in nine career starts vs. the Phillies. Harper is 5-for-17 off him with two solo homers.

MLB free pick: Rangers runline at -140

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