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In our first MLB NRFI selection for Friday, look for the Tampa Bay Rays and San Diego Padres to combine for a scoreless first inning from San Diego. There is an electric pitching matchup set to take place in this matchup, as Shane McClanahan and Yu Darvish will start on the hill for their respective teams. That will be the main reason that this contest does not see a run in the first inning of play.
McClanahan has been particularly impressive so far this season for the Rays, as he has become the front-runner to win the AL Cy Young award. He is 10-1 on the season with an ERA of 2.18 going into this start. While he does face a dangerous San Diego lineup in this game, he has proven all season long that he has the level of talent necessary to neutralize even the most intimidating opposing hitters.
While Yu Darvish has not had quite the same numbers so far this season as McClanahan, his ceiling is high enough to justify an NRFI play here as well. Darvish has a 5-4 record and a 4.30 ERA on the season to this point. He will do enough to lock down the explosive Tampa Bay offense in the first inning, benefiting from pitching at home, where Darvish’s ERA is just 2.68 compared to his 6.19 ERA on the road.
Expect another scoreless first inning in Arizona, as the Cleveland Guardians and Arizona Diamondbacks do battle at Chase Field. Another Cy Young candidate will feature on the mound to start this contest, as NL Cy Young contender Zac Gallen will start this game off for the Diamondbacks. He will face a very capable pitcher as well, which should help us get a second NRFI hit on Friday night.
Gallen has been excellent so far this season, going 7-2 with a 3.09 ERA, ranking second behind Spencer Strider of the Atlanta Braves in this year’s NL Cy Young odds. Gallen’s ability to avoid giving up home runs will be a key factor in the first inning, as he is only allowing a home run every 21 innings on average. Keeping the ball in the park will help him to keep runs off of the board in the top of the first.
On the other side, Triston McKenzie has not had to do much pitching so far this season, as he has only thrown 10 innings for the Cleveland Guardians. But McKenzie’s ceiling is also high, as we saw last season. Look for him to come out and slow down the Diamondbacks to help this NRFI wager come through for us.
Finally, there is one YRFI wager on our radar for Friday night in Major League Baseball, with that wager coming from Houston. There, we expect the Cincinnati Reds and Houston Astros to deliver at least one run in the first inning. The Houston Astros will be particularly dangerous at the plate in this contest early on, helping this game to go over the first inning total.
The Houston offense will be looking to get back on track after being held to just one run in an extra-inning affair in their last game against the Washington Nationals. To do that, they will be aggressive early on against Reds starter Andrew Abbott. Abbott has pitched twice so far this season, facing two lackluster offenses in the Cardinals and Brewers, and he will struggle early against the best offense he has faced in 2023, which will be the primary reason for this YRFI bet hitting.
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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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