There will be a flurry of trades before first pitch in most games (and maybe even after first pitch in the one matinee) on Tuesday’s schedule in Major League Baseball. We’ll try to avoid highlighting any pitchers on the trading block as we focus once again on first-inning scoring wagers, the easy one-stop shop at the sportsbook.
Reds vs Marlins
For the second straight day we’re taking a look at this otherwise nondescript series in Miami. For Tuesday’s encounter, Graham Ashcraft goes for Cincinnati opposite Braxton Garrett for the Marlins in a matchup of Alabamians.
Ashcraft allowed four runs in 6.2 innings against the Marlins his last time out, although he did work a scoreless first. That opening frame dropped his ERA in the first to 4.50, but it is at 6.11 in innings one through three, so it’s not as if the righty comes out guns-a-blazin’.
He owns a 6.93 ERA over his last five starts, allowing four first-inning runs along the way. Miami isn’t much of a challenge, but neither is Ashcraft at this point.
Garrett gave up five runs in five innings in a loss at Cincinnati on Wednesday. Four of the runs came in the first inning on five hits, one walk and a wild pitch. If not for a caught stealing, it could’ve been a lot worse.
The Reds don’t score too often in the first inning on the road (19.6%, 26th in the majors), but that number has steadily risen as leadoff hitter Jonathan India has heated up. He’s hitting .283 with six homers and an .851 OPS over his last 29 games and will help his team present an early challenge for Garrett.
Those glancing at the MLB odds and considering a bet online might want to think about some early runs in Miami.
First Inning to Score: YES
Diamondbacks vs Guardians
A Zac Gallen-Triston McKenzie matchup is on tap for this one, and runs should be scarce. Gallen had a 3.03 ERA in five July starts, four of which involved scoreless firsts.
The UNC product has been incredibly stingy early in games, allowing just three runs in his 19 first innings while holding opponents to a .154 batting average. This trend extends over the next two frames before teams begin to get to Gallen in the middle innings. His ERA through the third inning is 1.78; from innings four through six it sits at 4.50, and it’s at 9.00 in the seventh.
It’s clear that Gallen is someone you need to wait out.
McKenzie is much more consistent through all portions of a game, and similarly strong in the first. Opponents are batting .188 in the opening inning and the former first-round pick has given up only five runs in that frame in his 18 starts – none in his last six.
McKenzie has 15 consecutive scoreless innings at home and owns a 2.89 ERA in his six starts at Progressive Field. He’ll be a challenge for a Diamondbacks lineup that ranks 28th in first-inning scoring percentage on the road (18.8).
When analyzing the MLB lines for this tilt, consider a scoreless first as a solid option.
First Inning to Score: NO
Tigers vs Twins
Minnesota has been very quiet on the trade front and wasn’t involved in any significant moves entering Tuesday, but things can change all the way up to the final minute. The club is in a tight three-way race in the AL Central and is three games below .500 since July 6, so perhaps an upgrade is in order.
Chris Archer figures to stay put and the Twins are hoping he can find the form he had in June, when he had a 1.67 ERA in six starts, albeit none longer than five innings. A hip injury put him on the shelf for a bit and he’s let up 10 runs in 7.2 innings in two starts since his return.
The Tigers got to Archer for a first-inning run in their last matchup on June 2 and they’ve very quietly improved in the opening frame. On that date, they were easily last in the majors in first-inning scoring percentage on the road at only 4.8%, but they’ve climbed to 11.5.
It’s still last in all of baseball, but it’s a marked improvement. With Archer struggling, there could be an opening for some early action.
Counterpart Matt Manning is coming off the 60-day IL to start for Detroit. He has only two April starts to his credit this season, but 20 going back to last year that tell an uneven story. In those 20 career starts, he has a 3.60 ERA in the first inning but a 6.05 mark over the first four frames. Additionally, he owns a 6.52 mark in nine career starts on the road.
Facing the Twins, who are tied with Toronto atop the AL rankings in terms of first-inning scoring percentage (36.3), offers an immediate challenge for a talented hurler who will probably have some rust to shake off.
Take a close look at the first-inning odds in Minnesota when making some MLB picks and think about the possibility of some early scoring.
First Inning to Score: YES