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NRFI and YRFI Best Bets: Easy One for Nathan Eovaldi

Thursday was a day of rest for the RIFI machine. A few tweaks, some oil in the rear thingamajig and a reboot has us primed to end the week on a great note with our MLB picks. Here are three suggestions as it relates to first-inning scoring. As always, we will focus on a few offerings that aren’t as easy to figure out.


NRFI and YRFI Best Bets: Easy One for Nathan Eovaldi
Nathan Eovaldi #17 of the Texas Rangers | Julio Aguilar/Getty Images/AFP

3 Best NRFI/YRFI Bets


1. Royals vs Rangers: Can Brady Singer Silence Rangers’ Bats?

We’re mere days from the mid-point of the season and the Royals are seven games ahead of the Rangers, a development not many of us saw when Texas was hoisting a World Series trophy last fall.

This weekend set in Arlington should have plenty of intrigue, and it begins with a pretty solid matchup on the mound with Brady Singer against Nathan Eovaldi.

Eovaldi is coming off a rocky one in Seattle in which he got through only three innings while giving up four runs. We’ll chalk that one up as an outlier for a guy who entered that contest with a 2.68 ERA.

The two-time All-Star is back home for this one, where he’s been superb in 2024. Eovaldi boasts a 2-0 record with a 2.09 ERA in seven starts in Arlington while posting an extremely clean 0.931 WHIP. And he has another sub-3.00 ERA (2.45 this time) in first innings overall.

Kansas City was a force offensively in the opening frame early in the year. That has dropped off quite a bit of late, and the Royals usually did most of that damage in their home park anyway. They enter this one ranked 26th in the majors in runs per first on the road (0.30).

As for Singer, he has been very good out of the gate in most of his starts. He’s let up three earned runs in his 14 first innings, good for a 1.93 ERA, while holding opponents to a .167 average.


Early walks can be an issue (he’s issued eight of them) and Texas is one of the best at drawing free passes in the first inning. But Singer has very good numbers against the top-of-the-order Rangers hitters and dominated Texas in six innings of one-run ball with eight strikeouts (no walks) earlier this year.



2. White Sox vs Tigers: F is for Fedde, Flaherty, First-Inning Zeros

Here we have an AL Central matchup featuring a pair of hurlers who are enjoying strong, somewhat surprising, campaigns as Erick Fedde faces Jack Flaherty.

Let’s start with Flaherty, who will be facing the league-worst Chicago offense that just scored six runs in losing two of three to Houston at home. He is unscored upon in 16⅔ innings over his last three outings while striking out 19 and walking two.

It’s a dominant run any way you slice it, but it’s even more impressive given the fact that the three starts were at Boston, at Texas, and at Houston. With three more scoreless first innings, his ERA in that frame is down to 4.15. But you should know that five of the six runs he’s allowed in the opening stanza came back in April.

Flaherty opened the season with six strong innings against the White Sox. He should put up loads of zeros in this one, including the first. He’s looking a lot like the Cy Young Award candidate of several years ago with St. Louis.

Fedde has never flirted with a Cy Young, but he was a dominant pitcher in Korea last year (20-6, 2.00 ERA) and has enjoyed a very good return to the majors. He’s 5-1 with a 2.85 ERA over his last 12 starts, quietly giving Chicago a solid veteran rotation piece to go along with some of the team’s up-and-coming studs in Garrett Crochet and Jonathan Cannon.

The 31-year-old Fedde has a 1.80 ERA in the first inning and will be taking on a Detroit team that has scored a total of three runs during its current four-game losing streak.


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3. Twins vs Athletics: Paddack-Estes Rematch

Chris Paddack and Joey Estes met just five days ago in Minnesota and it was a circus over the first few innings. Neither guy had it working early with Paddack’s Twins taking a 6-5 lead into the fourth and both starters already in the showers.

Estes, a rookie who has had some really nice moments this year, now stands with a 6.25 ERA in nine career starts in the majors. Royce Lewis took him deep in the first inning on Sunday, part of an incredible barrage for the Minnesota slugger, who is doing truly historic stuff right now.

Lewis and Co. are part of a lineup that ranks ninth in runs per first (0.55). While they’re not as potent on the road, the Twins have a very different look since Lewis returned and they’ll make life difficult early for Estes. The 25-year-old has a 6.97 ERA through the first three innings of his seven starts.

Paddack survived the first without any damage against Oakland on Sunday but he was beat up over the next two frames. He has a 6.53 mark through the first three innings of his 14 starts and he’s been atrocious on the road (8.20 ERA).

The A’s don’t do much in the first inning, but here’s an opportunity.



Questions Of The Day

Are there any MLB news items that can impact wagering on Friday?

The evening features an interesting matchup between an Orioles unit that just scored 17 runs at Yankee Stadium going up against Houston prospect Jake Bloss, who is being brought up from Double-A to make his MLB debut. We often like scoreless firsts for prized prospects who haven’t been seen by the opponents, although it can also go the other direction in a hurry.

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