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Pitching in baseball is like height in basketball, in that you either have it or you don’t. In the case of NRFI/YRFI bets, pitching is the key to determining whether or not runs will be scored. Here, we break down whether the teams in our best NRFI bets for Tuesday have the necessary pitching to get to the second inning with zeroes on the scoreboard.
In the matchup between the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros on Tuesday night, there should be enough pitching to get to the second inning in a scoreless game. While Boston is not sending the best-starting pitcher in the league to the mound, he has the ability to get through a scoreless first inning. Meanwhile, Houston is sending one of the best arms in baseball to the mound to start this contest.
Justin Verlander has not had a brilliant year by his own lofty standards, but overall he has had a rock-solid season. Verlander has a record of just 8-6, but his 3.36 ERA is more than respectable for the year as a whole. Look for him to continue to round into playoff form here by keeping the Red Sox off of the scoreboard in the top of the first inning.
Meanwhile, Tanner Houck has not had a great year by any stretch of the imagination, going 3-6 with a 5.05 ERA. But one thing he has done a decent job of this year is avoid giving up home runs, as he has allowed just nine on the season to this point. If he can keep the top of the Astros lineup from launching a longball in the bottom of the first inning, he should be fine to help us cash this NRFI bet.
One game where there is decidedly not enough pitching for a scoreless opening inning is the NL Central matchup between the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates. There, two pitchers with losing records will take the hill in a game that could see some early offense on both sides. But it is the home team that is most likely to score at the start of this game, thanks to the suspect starting pitching of the visitors.
Adam Wainwright has had a nightmare of a 2023 season on the mound for the St. Louis Cardinals. He is 3-8 on the season with an ERA of 8.42 that signals his illustrious career cannot be far from its end. He has averaged under five innings per start this season, as teams have chased him out of games early, and we could see the Pirates do that here with a big first-inning scoring output.
Pittsburgh’s starting pitching situation is only slightly better going into this game, as Johan Oviedo takes the hill for them. The Pirates starter is 6-13 on the year, boasting an ERA of 4.55. Both starting pitchers have allowed 15 home runs to opposing hitters this season, and both will be vulnerable to conceding a first-inning home run to push this game over the total in the opening inning of action.
Our final first-inning total wager is an NRFI bet in the marquee matchup between the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks. Jon Gray and Zac Gallen have been Cy Young contenders for much of this season. They will face off in Arizona here, in a game that should have very little trouble remaining scoreless heading into the top of the second inning in Phoenix.
Both of these teams are in the top half of the league in shutting their opponents out in the first innings this season. The Rangers and Diamondbacks have both held their opponents scoreless in the first inning over 70% of the time to this point in the year. Expect that trend to continue with the aces of both sides on the mound for this game.
Also working in the favor of the NRFI for this game is the fact that Zac Gallen has been incredible at home all season long for the Diamondbacks. Gallen is 10-1 with a 1.82 ERA this season at Chase Field. Expect him to continue to dominate in his home ballpark, helping to get us across the finish line without any runs on the board in the first in this Tuesday night thriller.
Check out other MLB betting sites for more betting opportunities.
Jay Sanin is a sports bettor and writer from New York. He has been handicapping since the moment he was old enough to gamble legally, with his specialties being niche sports like the WNBA and XFL. He’s been told he has a voice for radio. He also has a face for radio.More info on Jay Sanin
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