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Three Best Bets for Wednesday’s RIFI Picks

Cubs, Mets Finish Series in New York

Yet another 3-0 night on Tuesday and we are on an absolute tear on our first-inning scoring bets of late. It makes sense, as the trends and split stats that didn’t mean much early on are now pretty entrenched and it’s a bit easier to discern what might happen in a particular matchup. We’ll try to keep things going with three more MLB picks offerings for Wednesday.

Nationals vs Phillies

Three Best Bets for Wednesday’s RIFI Picks
Kyle Hendricks #28 of the Chicago Cubs | Dilip vishwanat/getty images/afp

— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) August 9, 2023

After a doubleheader on Tuesday, these NL East foes lock horns again as their four-game series continues. Michael Lorenzen will be making his second start in a Philadelphia Phillies uniform, hoping to duplicate his first.

Lorenzen went eight innings in his Phillies debut last week at Miami, holding the Marlins to two runs to win for the fourth time in his last five starts. His ERA in that 4-1 stretch is a minuscule 1.42.

There must be some wondering if Lorenzen will hit a wall at some point. His 113⅔ innings is a career-high for a guy who mostly came out of the bullpen. Until we see signs of a slump, however, he’s a pretty solid option for a bet online.

The 31-year-old has a 5.21 first-inning ERA, but that’s inflated by a few rocky firsts early in the season. He’s allowed just two first-inning runs in his last 12 starts and one of those came against Atlanta, which has been scoring runs in the opening frame all year. The Washington Nationals are a very good first-inning offense as well, but Lorenzen is in a groove.

MacKenzie Gore gets the nod for Washington as he looks to build off a quality start his last time out. The former first-rounder strikes out a lot of hitters (10.4 K-per-9) and doesn’t give up a lot of hits, so with some improvement in command he can be a force.

The Phillies clubbed Gore in an ugly encounter on July 1 en route to that 19-4 win over Washington. He still managed a scoreless first in that one and had a quality start against Philadelphia in a previous matchup, so we don’t place a ton of stock in that one rocky outing.

Gore has a 2.45 ERA in the first inning, with opponents putting up a tiny .576 OPS. Philadelphia is just 20th in the majors in first-inning scoring percentage at home (27.9). We think those numbers, coupled with Lorenzen’s recent dominance, make for a no-RIFI option at the sportsbook.

First Inning to Score: NO

First Five Innings: Phillies -½ (-115)

Twins vs Tigers

The Minnesota Twins were cooled off Tuesday night by Eduardo Rodriguez and two relievers, who led the Detroit Tigers to a 6-0 win. The Tigers will try to make it two straight over the AL Central leaders behind Alex Faedo, who is being recalled from the minors.

The former Florida Gator had the best start of his young career his last time up, limiting San Diego to one hit in six scoreless frames. He has an impressive 1.037 WHIP in his seven starts at the major league level this year.

Faedo’s sample size isn’t huge but he does boast a 1.29 ERA in both the first and second innings, often starting strong. The bottom has fallen out in the middle innings, something to keep in mind if you’re MLB live betting this contest, but he is a relatively safe first-inning option.

Bailey Ober carries a solid 3.21 ERA into this one, which would rank eighth in the majors if he had enough innings (he’s just short). Part of his solid campaign includes an outing at Detroit earlier in the year in which he allowed three runs in six innings while striking out a season-high-tying eight batters.

Ober has allowed 10 runs in his 18 first innings, but five of those came in May. He’s been mostly clean in that opening stanza of late and the Tigers, who rank 27th in first-inning OPS (.663), are often an easy target.

See what the MLB lines pages say and consider a scoreless first in Detroit.

First Inning to Score: NO

First Five Innings: Tigers +½ (-110)

Cubs vs Mets

It’s safe to say that when the season began not many of us thought that we’d be in the second week of August with the Chicago Cubs about to take over first place and the New York Mets about to take over last. But that’s where we are as these two play the rubber game of a three-game set at Citi Field.

David Peterson is tasked with trying to slow down Chicago, which has won 16 of its last 21 to become the darling of the MLB news pages. He returned to the rotation in the wake of the Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer deals and can use the stretch run as an audition for 2024.

The former Oregon Duck tossed three scoreless at Baltimore last week in his return to the rotation. Even with those three goose eggs he still has a 6.12 ERA as a starter this year, often getting knocked around right off the bat (7.88 ERA over the first two innings).

That’s been a theme throughout Peterson’s career. He has a 6.20 lifetime ERA in the first inning, walking 32 batters in 53⅔ frames overall in that set. While the Cubs haven’t been the best offense in that opening inning, they are averaging 6.4 runs and batting .280 overall during that 16-5 surge.

Kyle Hendricks’ return to form gave Chicago a nice boost this year, although he’s hit a bit of a bump lately. The veteran righty gave up a season-high seven runs in four innings against Atlanta his last time out and has a 5.88 ERA over his last six outings.

Opponents are hitting a healthy .274 against Hendricks in his first 25 pitches of a game. He’s given up four of his 10 home runs allowed in those offerings. The Mets have been a brutal first-inning attack for much of the year but they scored twice in that frame on a Pete Alonso homer Tuesday night.

Alonso has reached three times in eight career plate appearances against Hendricks and Jeff McNeil, who often hits in front of Alonso, is 3-for-5 with a homer and a walk vs. the longtime Cub.

Once again, these are not two dynamic first-inning offenses. However, there’s just enough to go by to expect a run or two in that opening frame. If you’re planning some online gambling, back the offenses in Queens.

First Inning to Score: YES

First Five Innings: Cubs +½ (-135)

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