We’re coming off a 4-2 RIFI weekend outlook. It’s not horrendous but there’s some room for improvement. With that in mind, we’re ready to jump all over Tuesday’s full slate of MLB spreads as we continue to look at first-inning scoring wagers. Here are a few suggestions to get you into the short work week, once again focusing on those hard-to-peg toss-ups.
Blue Jays at Orioles
Mitch White has been a bit of a disaster since being acquired by the Toronto Blue Jays at the trade deadline. After posting a 3.47 ERA in 10 starts for the Los Angeles Dodgers, he’s gone 0-3 with a 7.04 mark for the Blue Jays.
Much of the recent damage against White has come in the middle innings, but he still has allowed the first-inning tally in two of his five Toronto starts. Overall, he has a 3.60 ERA in the first but a 5.76 mark over the first three frames, so he’s clearly not coming out of the gate in fine fashion.
Included in those first three innings are 19 walks against 30 strikeouts in 45⅓ innings, numbers even a so-so offense like the Orioles can exploit.
Baltimore ranks 27th in the majors in first-inning scoring percentage at 21.5, but that number has been steadily rising. The Orioles were dead last at 17.0% just a month ago and even lower than that at the All-Star break. They can get to White early.
Kyle Bradish will be challenged by the surging Blue Jays when he gets the ball for Baltimore. He has a 5.82 ERA in the first, during which opponents are slugging a pretty healthy .478, numbers that could go up against Bo Bichette and company.
Bichette put on a show with his first career three-homer game in the nightcap of Monday’s doubleheader sweep of the Orioles. He’s 3-for-7 with a homer and a walk against Bradish, so expect the hot stretch to continue.
Toronto ranks sixth in baseball in first-inning scoring percentage on the road (29.9). When staring at the MLB lines, consider a YRFI bet for this one.
First Inning to Score: YES
Nationals vs Cardinals
Here’s one that on paper might suggest some scoring opportunities, what with two hurlers limping a bit to the finish line facing two offenses that have been quite solid of late. Some deeper numbers suggest it’s more of a toss-up, so let’s dive in.
Paolo Espino carries his 0-6 record into this one for the Nationals. He’s not a guy who will give you much length, lasting fewer than five innings in more than half of his 15 starts. However, he’s usually pretty solid to begin games, boasting a 3.00 ERA and .208 batting average against in the first inning.
The Panama native was knocked around in an earlier start against the Cardinals, but only after he soared through a scoreless first. And while St. Louis’ vaunted offense is one of the best there is at first-inning scoring, it was blanked on three hits in Monday’s 6-0 loss to the Nationals and has been held scoreless in 21 of its last 22 innings.
Jose Quintana has rewarded us several times this year with NRFI bets and we like him to continue that trend, despite the fact that he’s been a bit shaky of late. The veteran has surrendered 21 hits in 12⅓ innings over his last three starts.
However, Quintana continues to dominate the first innings. He’s tossed five straight scoreless firsts to cut his ERA in that frame to 1.73.
Washington got to the lefty for a first-inning run in its last encounter, but he blanked the Nats over the next five innings. And the runs came courtesy of hits by Juan Soto and Josh Bell, since gone to San Diego.
The Nationals have been scoring runs in bunches over the past week but they continue to plummet down the first-inning scoring ranks. Once the best team in baseball in that category with a run over 40% of the time, they’re now 14th at 27.4%.
First Inning to Score: NO
Reds vs Cubs
Wade Miley will be on the mound at Wrigley Field for the first time since May 22 and pitching in a major league game for the first time since June 10 as he winds down an injury-plagued campaign.
The veteran southpaw has been out since then due to a shoulder issue. It’s hard to gauge exactly how his return will play out, as adrenaline and rust are incalculable, but we can try to discern something from a few numbers.
Miley gave up two runs in the first inning in his four earlier starts in the majors and two in his five rehab starts, so early scoring does happen against him in 2022. Additionally, opponents had a .880 OPS against him in the opening frame during his very strong 2021 campaign, and his career 4.96 first-inning ERA is his worst of any stanza.
The 35-year-old might simply cruise on adrenaline against an offense that ranks 25th in first-inning scoring percentage (24.2), but he might also struggle to find some rhythm against a crew that is slugging .430 and averaging roughly five runs a game during its current 5-4 stretch.
After Miley’s return, Justin Dunn gets a crack at the Chicago Cubs. He’s given up just three hits in 16 at-bats in his limited first-inning action, but one was a homer and two were doubles.
Dunn got through a scoreless first in his only matchup with Chicago before getting pounded for five runs over the next 2⅔ innings and getting chased in the fourth. The Cubs have jumped on opponents early all year, especially at home, where they are fifth in the majors by scoring 37.9% of the time.
There are not a ton of 2022 numbers to go by with these two hurlers, but the limited trends suggest it won’t be a super clean opening. Consider a YRFI bet online when making your MLB picks at the sportsbook.
First Inning to Score: YES