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Today’s YRFI/NRFI Plays: Expect Zeroes in Houston

Another two wins in as many chances Thursday night. There’s no stopping us in our MLB picks when it comes to the first inning. Friday offers up a slew of new opportunities, with big series popping up in Boston, Los Angeles and Seattle, to name a few.

Head into the weekend on a winning note with these MLB selections.

Today’s YRFI/NRFI Plays:Expect Zeroes in Houston
Justyn-Henry Malloy #44 of the Detroit Tigers - Duane Burleson/Getty Images/AFP


Tigers at Astros: Brown Hunting Tigers

The Astros are one of two teams in the majors with a positive run differential and a losing record. And it’s not like they’re just under .500; they enter seven games below and a losing streak or two away from falling out of the AL West picture entirely.

You get the sense that a surge is coming at some point, but it will take a pretty big turnaround by the starting pitching to make it happen. Hunter Brown is showing some signs that he’s figured a few things out after an atrocious start to the campaign.

Brown spun six scoreless at Anaheim last weekend, a fourth straight quality start for a guy who ended April at 0-4 with a 9.78 ERA. Opponents are batting only .157 in that four-game stretch and he is piling up the strikeouts with 23 in 18 frames over his last three outings.

Actually, Brown’s turnaround may have begun with five solid frames out of the bullpen at Detroit on May 11. Starter Cristian Javier couldn’t get out of the second inning and Brown found some rhythm cleaning up the mess.

Brown, a native of Detroit who played college ball at Wayne State just steps from Comerica Park, has some ugly first-inning numbers. But you might remember he allowed nine runs in the first at Kansas City back in April. That’ll skew things, and he’s a much different pitcher now.

The other side of the equation is a bit simpler. Tarik Skubal carries a 1.92 ERA – tops in the American League – into this one. He’s been superb in every inning and Houston has been sinking down the first-inning offensive rankings in the past month or so.

First Inning to Score: NO


Padres at Mets: Manaea vs Matt

Sean Manaea will be making his first start state-side after a rocky showing in London last weekend. The Phillies chased him in the fourth, leaving the lefty with a 6.98 ERA over his last four starts.

The one-time Padre has some pretty good first-inning numbers, but here’s a chance for that to change. He’s struggled at home this year (0-3, 5.40), is sporting the worst strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.40) of his career and has been knocked around by some of the top-of-the order guys the Padres will throw at him.

Luis Arraez, Jurickson Profar and Manny Machado are a combined 16-for-44 (.364) with a couple homers against the southpaw. Also, San Diego leads the majors in first-inning scoring percentage on the road at 44.12%.

The Padres counter with Matt Waldron, who has found a home in the rotation with a quality knuckleball and some good complementary offerings as well. He’s struggled early in games, however, and could be ripe for picking against a Mets lineup that’s made some gains in the first inning.

Waldron has a 7.62 ERA in the first, with opponents hitting .327 with five homers. Most of those were early in the season and he’s been better of late, but we see a slight opportunity for a mistake here.

New York has been steadily increasing its first-inning scoring percentage all year. The team as a whole is hitting .282 during an 8-4 surge, and it’s feeling pretty good about itself after the way Thursday’s game ended.

First Inning to Score: YES


Athletics at Twins: Into the Woods Richardson

Minnesota is seeking a third straight win as this four-game set continues. It will send Simeon Woods Richardson to the mound against the spiraling A’s, who have dropped six in a row.

Woods Richardson has yet to allow a run in the first inning in 10 starts, with opponents producing all of three hits in 32 at-bats. That solid trend should continue against Oakland, which is batting a paltry .165 in the first inning this year, easily the lowest average in the majors.

The A’s will try to hang behind right-hander Mitch Spence. The 26-year-old rookie is making his sixth straight start after opening the season in the bullpen. He gave up some runs in the first inning in the first two of those starts but has been clean in that frame ever since.

That includes a scoreless first in a seven-inning, two-run effort against Toronto his last time out. It was the third straight start in which he did not allow a home run, and Spence has issued just two walks in 18⅓ innings in that span.

The Twins can do some damage in the first inning – especially at Target Field – but this is their first look at Spence. Maybe they get to him after a turn through the order. Consider that with any bet online you make for A’s versus Twins.

First Inning to Score: NO



Odds and information are accurate at the time of writing. Please check with official sources for the latest updates before placing any bets.


Questions of the Day

What other games look appetizing at the sportsbook?

The Yankees come to Fenway Park for the first time this year with Cy Young candidate Luis Gil on the mound. New York has been dominant on the road (27-12) while Boston has struggled at home (16-19). Perhaps that plays into a wager or two.

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