This should be a wild night in the majors, with all 30 teams playing in the evening and plenty of them itching for a playoff spot. We see a few gems in the first-inning scoring landscape that should be worth an MLB bet or two.
Mets vs Marlins
We’re going to South Beach for the second night in a row after correctly nailing a low-scoring affair on Monday and cashing in on a no-RIFI win. For Tuesday’s battle, we’re highlighting the Joey Lucchesi-Braxton Garrett matchup.
Garrett has emerged as a force in the Miami Marlins’ rotation as the former first-round pick puts it all together. He owns a 2.36 ERA over his last nine starts, including six scoreless in a clutch performance at Milwaukee his last time out.
The 26-year-old started his season with a pair of clunkers against the New York Mets, but he’s a different pitcher now. A big part of his recipe for success has been an ability to start games off on the right path, as he owns a 2.57 ERA in the first inning with 31 strikeouts against only two walks.
Those numbers should give him what he needs against a Mets team that’s been at the bottom of the first-inning scoring percentage rankings for months.
Lucchesi will be making his eighth start for New York as he looks to continue a solid stretch. If he had a few more reps, Lucchesi might be listed on MLB Vegas odds sheets for Comeback Player of the Year. He’s 3-0 with a 2.83 ERA in seven starts after missing all of last season with Tommy John surgery.
The 30-year-old let up only one unearned run in seven innings to defeat Arizona on Wednesday, outdueling Zac Gallen in the process. The first inning has been a struggle in Lucchesi’s small sample size this year, but he worked a scoreless first in that one and has been okay out of the gate throughout his career.
Miami was held to five hits – all singles – in Monday’s 2-1 setback. It can be held in check by Lucchesi for at least a frame or two.
First Inning to Score: NO
Blue Jays vs Yankees
The New York Yankees have a 0.4% chance of making the playoffs. We’re not saying it’ll happen, but the schedule allows for one possibility for a miracle run. New York is six games out of a wild card spot but has six remaining games against Toronto, one of the three teams it could possibly catch for a wild card spot. The other two teams in that equation – Texas and Seattle – play each other seven more times.
If the Yankees can sweep the Jays (or at least win five of six) and if the Rangers-Mariners matchups are one-sided, New York could be within a game or two or a couple of teams in that final weekend. It ain’t happenin’, but if you’re a fan of the Bombers still holding out hope, at least there is one tiny avenue for it all to work. New York will try to inch a tad closer to the pack with Clarke Schmidt on the mound Tuesday night.
Schmidt is listing a bit down the stretch run, posting a 5.81 ERA over his last six starts. Much of the damage has been on the road, however, and the 27-year-old righty has been a better pitcher in Yankee Stadium (1.17 WHIP, 3.94 ERA).
He’s also remained somewhat stout in the first inning, where opponents have a .683 OPS and just six walks against 31 strikeouts. He has yet to allow an earned run in 8⅓ career innings against the Blue Jays, who are last in the AL in first-inning scoring percentage (23.3). That’s a good set of numbers for anyone backing Schmidt while conducting some MLB betting online.
Schmidt will be opposed by Yusei Kikuchi, who has given us several winning no-RIFI bets this year, including last week against Texas. His scoreless first in that one left him with a 2.79 ERA in the opening frame.
📍 Central Park, New York
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 20, 2023
Kikuchi, who likes to throw in Central Park the day before his Yankee Stadium starts, spun six solid innings in the Bronx earlier in the year and owns a 1.91 ERA in six career appearances in New York.
Facing a Yankees squad that is 28th in the majors in first-inning batting average (.222) should help him start this one on a good note.
First Inning to Score: NO
Brewers vs Cardinals
With Milwaukee inching toward an NL Central title, the team continues this set against the last-place Cardinals. St. Louis is auditioning players for 2024, and rookie Drew Rom will get his first look at the Brew Crew in this one.
It’s hard to know what you’re going to get from Rom, who worked into the sixth without allowing a run at Baltimore his last time out to pick up his first career win. Prior to that, the one-time Orioles prospect was 0-2 with a 7.79 ERA.
In a limited first-inning sample, Rom has given up three runs in five innings, but only one was earned. What’s troubling is the fact that he’s walked five while striking out four in those five frames while also serving up one home run.
That’s a recipe for some damage against the Brewers, who score 35% of the time in the first inning at home.
Milwaukee is going with an opener in this one. Trevor Megill, who has made one start among his 28 appearances, gets the nod. He’s been solid this year out of the pen, but sometimes these opens can yield some wacky results.
As it stands, St. Louis is a top-10 offense at home. Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, and Tommy Edman, three Cardinals that Megill could potentially face in the first inning, are a combined 3-for-5 with two walks against him.
When surveying the MLB betting lines, see if a yes-RIFI selection makes sense in St. Louis.
First Inning to Score: YES