Freedom is many things. For instance, we have the opportunity to MLB bet online, and when doing so our options are plentiful. If you want to gamble on just one inning as opposed to all nine, go for it. Get in, get out and enjoy your day. After all, there’s barbecues to attend, parades to watch and fireworks to set off.
Rockies vs Dodgers
We recently predicted Kyle Freeland would not give up a first-inning run against the Los Angeles Dodgers and, of course, he did. So we’re doubling down in a rematch at Dodger Stadium.
One item in our favor is the fact that Freeland is on the road in this one. He sports a 2.91 ERA away from Coors Field and five of his six first innings on the road have been scoreless. Even though he was touched for an early run against the Dodgers his last time out, the Denver native recovered to post a quality start for the fourth time in five June appearances.
Los Angeles is a top-notch offense at all times, but it is just 12th in the majors in runs per the first inning at home (0.64). However, the Dodgers do have Mookie Betts back in the lineup, so that could sway things.
If Betts and company cannot break through against Freeland in the first, we expect Julio Urias to get your NRFI (No Runs First Inning) bet to the finish line.
Don’t be scared off by the fact that Urias has allowed 11 runs in 14 first innings. An incredible seven of those 11 runs are unearned, as the defense behind him has helped to cause a couple big innings. That doesn’t matter as it relates to a first-inning bet since a run is a run, no matter how it comes across.
However, opponents are batting only .214 against Urias in the first. Things will normalize and he’ll have plenty of clean firsts going forward, just as he did at Coors Field last time out.
First Inning to Score: NO
Giants vs Diamondbacks
Another National League West matchup for you on the MLB lines sheet, this one featuring a pair of left-handers going at it in Phoenix.
Carlos Rodon gets the start for San Francisco. He’s been solid all around, but his ERA on the road (3.06) is about a run higher than it is at home. Additionally, he’s allowed two of his four homers in the first inning, a frame that has seen him give up five runs in 15 tries.
Rodon has never faced the Diamondbacks. We’ll see how he settles in at Chase Field. When he does, chances are he’ll be working with a lead. San Francisco has scored in the first in five of his last six starts and the batters will be licking their chops at the prospect of facing old friend Madison Bumgarner.
The one-time Giants great has surrendered 12 runs in 16 first innings, allowing opponents to hit .329 in the frame. Five of the 12 home runs Bumgarner’s allowed have come in the first, and five more have come in the second. It certainly takes some time for the veteran to get settled.
Included in the collection of early homers was the one he served up to Miami Marlins speedster Jon Berti before that awkward mid-inning ejection. Berti went deep again later in that game and hasn’t homered since, which shows how giving Bumgarner has been in the early frames.
Bumgarner has given up a run in the first in five of his last six starts. We like that trend to continue.
First Inning to Score: YES
Mets vs Reds
Staying in the National League, we get an interesting matchup between Taijuan Walker and Hunter Greene in Cincinnati.
Walker has been superb of late, posting a 6-2 record with a 2.40 ERA over his last 10 starts. He has six runs charged against him in 13 first innings, but four of them came at Philadelphia on May 5, the start before his hot streak began.
The Reds are 21st in first-inning scoring percentage (25.64) and that number has been steadily falling; it was over 30 percent less than a month ago.
When making your MLB picks, anything involving Greene can be tricky. He’s just so up and down, mostly down of late. That could yield a nice payout if the MLB odds expect him to struggle early in this one and you choose to go against that notion.
We see a few reasons why that could be a quality bet.
Greene has not allowed a first-inning run in five of his last six starts, including three straight at home. He has a solid 3.43 ERA and opponents’ batting average of .200 through the first three innings; teams get to him mostly from the fourth inning on.
Home runs have been an issue for the rookie, but he’s kept the ball in the park in four of his last six starts.
New York has been among the best first-inning offenses all year, but it’s weighted heavily to the team’s home games. The Mets are just 16th in the majors in first-inning scoring percentage on the road (24.14).
First Inning to Score: NO
Mariners vs Padres
The only interleague matchup on the docket is this one, featuring a pair of second-place squads.
Chris Flexen has been solid, if not spectacular, for the Seattle Mariners. He has a 3.60 ERA over his last seven starts and he’s coasted through the first unscathed in each of his last three outings.
San Diego is 23rd in the majors with 0.42 runs per first. It scored all four of its runs in the ninth inning Sunday at Los Angeles and has produced one first-inning run in its last six contests.
Sean Manaea is no stranger to the Mariners, but he usually handles them well. The former first-round pick has a 3.46 ERA and a sparkling 1.089 WHIP in 15 career matchups with Seattle.
He’s had some issues with early home runs, giving up four in his 14 first innings. But opponents are hitting only .146 in the first against him and Manaea has a brilliant 23-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in that frame.
Current Mariners have one home run in a collective 65 at-bats against Manaea in his career. He’ll keep the ball in the park early in this one and coast through the first.
First Inning to Score: NO