Rosters may look very different in the next 24 hours as Major League Baseball approaches a trade deadline Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET. Keep an eye on any changes before making a wager on first-inning scoring, your easy in-and-out way to bet online. With that in mind, here are a few suggestions for Monday’s action at the sportsbook.
1. Red Sox at Astros
Nathan Eovaldi got through a scoreless first his last time against Houston and then the second went like this: home run, error, home run, home run, fly ball, single, double, home run, groundout, single, home run.
It was a record-setting performance, and not the good kind. He became the third pitcher ever to allow five homers in an inning. That disastrous start came at Fenway Park. Eovaldi has been better on the road this year, but Houston is an absolute force offensively in the first inning at home, scoring an American League-high 41.7% of the time, so expect some early thunder.
The Astros have scored in the first inning in four of their last six home games.
They’ll start the series with Luis Garcia on the mound. He owns a 4.74 ERA over his last eight starts and he gave up five runs in four innings – including two in the first – at Boston on May 18.
The 25-year-old has struggled a bit at home, where he’s allowed 11 of his 17 home runs. The Red Sox lead the AL in extra-base hits and they’re tied for second in first-inning scoring percentage on the road (32.0).
It seems as if the numbers add up for an early run in this one and you might consider that when glancing at the MLB lines.
First Inning to Score: YES
2. Reds at Marlins
A few days after these two teams split a four-game series in Cincinnati, they’re matched up again in South Florida for three. Hunter Greene and Jesus Luzardo are on the mound for the series opener, with Luzardo making his first start in over two months.
The 24-year-old was solid in three rehab outings, allowing three runs in 11.2 innings, and had some nice moments with Miami before the injury cropped up. He had a 3.08 ERA and 35 strikeouts in just 23 innings through his first five starts.
Included in that run was a pretty good showing in early innings. He has allowed four earned runs in 12 total innings between the first and the second, limiting opponents to nine hits in 45 at-bats.
If rust and/or adrenaline isn’t too much of an issue, then Luzardo should work a couple of clean ones before hitting a wall.
As for Greene, he’s coming off a solid out against the Marlins last Tuesday in which he let up two runs – both in the fourth inning – in 6.1 frames. The rookie flamethrower has allowed nine runs in his 19 first innings, but the other team is hitting only .239 and there have been 31 strikeouts in those 19 frames.
Greene needed 11 pitches to slice through a 1-2-3 first vs the Marlins his last time out and Miami is last in the NL in first-inning scoring percentage (17.7).
While a Reds-Marlins matchup won’t turn many heads, this is an intriguing one to look at when making some MLB picks.
First Inning to Score: NO
3. Orioles at Rangers
The Orioles are back to .500 after dropping two of three at Cincinnati and will try to stay on the right side of the even mark when they open things up at Texas on Monday.
Spenser Watkins has discovered something in his second season with Baltimore and is 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA over his last five starts. He was rocky in the first inning early in the season and opponents are batting .320 against him in that frame overall, but it’s been mostly clean of late. The 29-year-old carved up the Rangers in the first inning of a quality start a few turns ago.
Watkins’ opponent in the opener, Jon Gray, has had some tough times in the first inning as well. And like Watkins, most of those bumps in the road occurred early on. In fact, nine of the 14 runs he’s given up in the first took place in his first five starts.
Additionally, Gray has been scintillating at home, where he is 4-0 with a 2.93 ERA and an impressive 42 strikeouts in 30.2 innings. He’ll be squaring off with an offense that ranks last in the majors in first-inning scoring percentage (16.7).
Expect both Watkins and Gray to continue their improvement early in games and consider some early zeroes if you’re looking at the MLB odds for this one.
First Inning to Score: NO