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With just over a week remaining in the season, we have a weekend filled with matchups with playoff implications. Here, we look at the Friday MLB slate through the prism of the NRFI/YRFI betting market and determine which games will and will not feature first-inning scoring.
The Marlins will host the Brewers on Saturday as they continue their fight for an NL Wild Card spot. While the matchup features two offenses that have been on fire since the All-Star break, it will also have one of the best pitching matchups of the weekend. The game being played in Miami is also a reason we are locking this bet in. The Brewers batting average drops by over 12 points on the road, and the Marlins young starter’s ERA drops by a full two. Combine that with the Brewers having Woodruff on the mound, and you have a recipe for a quiet opening frame.
Speaking of Brandon Woodruff (5-1, 1.89 ERA), he has been elite since his return from a lengthy injury absence in August. In three September starts, Woodruff has allowed just one run on 11 hits across 22 innings (0.41 ERA). One of those starts was a complete game shutout against this same Marlins team. While that impressive start came at home, the veteran righty has been just as good away from Milwaukee, allowing just two runs over his last two road starts (13 innings). In addition, Woodruff has allowed a first-inning run just once in his ten starts.
Jesus Luzardo (10-9, 3.68 ERA) was hammered hard by Milwaukee earlier this month, but he has been fantastic for the Marlins in 2023. We think he’ll gain the upper hand against the Crew today because he will be at home, where he owns a 2.96 ERA (4.86 ERA on the road). We saw that in full effect earlier this month when the 25-year-old held the Dodgers to two runs on four hits across six innings. If he can do that to the Dodgers, he should have no problem keeping the Brewers’s bats quiet in the first inning this afternoon.
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This is the best YRFI bet of the weekend, and we are going to capitalize on it. One big reason for that is the Arizona offense, which has scored at least six runs in five of their previous six games. The lineup has gotten hot as they push for one of the NL’s Wild Card spots. Arizona has three teams within three games of them for the second spot, giving them plenty of reason to come out swinging tonight.
The D-backs offense will have a great chance to bounce back tonight with Yankees’ starter Carlos Rodon (3-6, 5.90 ERA) on the bump. The veteran missed the first half of the season, and it has shown. Rodon has just two quality starts across 12 appearances, which came against the Pirates and Nationals. The worst of Rodon’s struggles have come at Yankee Stadium, where he owns a 6.59 ERA. The lefty has allowed a first-inning score in three of his previous five starts, thanks largely to opponents batting .274 against him the first time through the lineup. Look for him to get into trouble early tonight, leading to this bet being covered quickly.
While the Yankees offense has failed to live up to expectations in 2023, they will succeed tonight with Zach Davies (2-5, 6.81 ERA) on the mound for Arizona. As his stats show, the 30-year-old has not looked good in 2023. Opponents are batting .293 against Davies the first time they see him, which is an alarming stat to have when you are facing Aaron Judge and the top of this New York lineup.
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Our final bet comes from a crucial AL West title race matchup. The Rangers and Mariners are neck and neck with the Astros for the division lead, leading to some significant offensive surges. The Mariners' offense dipped a bit last week, but they scored at least 5 runs in their previous four games, while the Rangers have scored 29 runs over their previous three games. Tonight’s pitching matchup features two starters who have been struggling, and we think both offenses will take advantage of that early.
Logan Gilbert (13-6, 3.77 ERA) has been excellent for Seattle this season but has been struggling in September. He owns a 4.50 ERA across four starts this month and allowed five runs on seven hits in his last start (5 innings). Gilbert has allowed a first-inning run to score in two of his previous three starts, and we see him adding to that against a Rangers team that has been punishing bad pitching all season. Being on the road in a game with playoff implications will pressure this young starter in an already difficult matchup and lead to some mistakes early on in this one.
Jordan Montgomery (9-11, 3.38 ERA) has been far better since being acquired by the Rangers at the deadline, but he has shown some cracks in August. That was on full display earlier this month when he allowed the A’s and Twins to tag him for a combined 11 runs on 15 hits over 9 ⅓ innings. He will face a much more formidable challenge tonight as he faces a Seattle lineup with Julio Rodriguez (.285 BA, 31 HR, 100 RBI, 36 SB) at the top.
Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid and has turned that into a successful career. He cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams along with his Alma Mater Arizona State. He specializes in baseball betting, but has experience in football, basketball, and hockey as well. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children.More info on Michael Savio
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