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The Marlins continue to be the best team in baseball at NRFI. They’re playing a scoreless first inning 69% of the time, which is far better than any other team. While the Red Sox are middle of the pack, Miami’s prowess in this area should take over. Plus, both of these teams rank among the bottom 10 teams in baseball in runs scored in the first inning with the Marlins scoring the second-fewest first-inning runs in the majors this year.
That should make the job easier for Boston starter Brayan Bello, who starts on Thursday. Bello is enjoying a breakout season, going 5-4 with a 3.27 ERA. He’s been even better in June, posting a 2.36 ERA over his four starts. He’s also pitched a scoreless first inning in four of his last five starts, keeping teams like the Rays and Yankees off the scoreboard early in games, which is a good sign that he can do the same against Miami’s lineup. Bello has a 4.50 ERA in the first inning this year, which is good enough to trust him against the Marlins.
Meanwhile, Jesus Luzardo has been one of the best pitchers in baseball in the first inning this year. In his 16 starts, he owns a 0.56 ERA in the first inning. Granted, he’s allowed two unearned runs in the first inning. But Luzardo has yielded just eight hits and one walk in the first inning this season. There is nothing to suggest that he won’t continue to dominate in the first inning on Thursday against Boston. After all, the Red Sox have scored just four total runs over their last three games, so their offense isn’t functioning that well in any inning.
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Both of these teams are hovering around .500 when it comes to playing a scoreless first inning. However, the Mets have scored the fewest first-inning runs in baseball this year, so they are always a good bet to remain scoreless in the first inning. The rest is up to Max Scherzer, which is why a scoreless first inning is the better bet in this game.
Despite an up-and-down season to this point, Scherzer seems to have found himself - and his slider - over his last two starts. In those two starts, Scherzer has pitched 14 innings, allowing just three runs on 11 hits. More importantly, he’s tossed a scoreless first inning in both starts, starting strong and going deep in the game. That’s enough to ignore a somewhat mediocre 4.15 ERA in the first inning of games and take care of business against a somewhat underwhelming Milwaukee lineup.
On the other side, Adrian Houser should have no problem taking care of the Mets in the first inning of Thursday’s game. The caveat is that Houser has a 10.29 ERA in the first inning of his seven starts in 2023. That’s actually part of the reason why he lost his spot in the rotation for a while. But he’ll get another chance to start on Thursday. Houser actually pitched quite well in May and has only allowed first-inning runs in three of his seven starts. The issue is that when he struggles early, the wheels come off. But given the Mets’ dreadful track record in the first inning this year, Houser has a good chance to escape the first inning unscathed on Thursday.
The Dodgers have the second-most first-inning runs in baseball this season and have hit YRFI in 56% of their games this year. Likewise, the Rockies are even better at playing games with early scoring, hitting YRFI 57% of the time, which is the fourth-best percentage in baseball right now. Early scoring is even more likely with this game being played at Coors Field, which is why we’ll take a chance, even with lackluster YRFI odds in this game.
The caveat of this bet is that Colorado’s lineup is missing Charlie Blackmon and Kris Bryant, so they have fewer hitters who can cause trouble at the top of the lineup. They are also facing 23-year-old Emmet Sheehan, who has posted a 1.50 ERA over his first two career starts. Sheehan didn’t even allow a hit in his first start, tossing six scoreless innings. He then pitched three innings in his second start before allowing a run. Needless to say, he has great stuff and is capable of shutting down a watered-down Colorado lineup. However, there is always a chance that a young pitcher will have trouble in his first start at Coors Field, so there’s a chance the Rox could get a run early against him.
Of course, we’re betting on first-inning runs in this game mostly because of Chase Anderson. Despite a 1.13 ERA in the first inning of his eight starts, Anderson has been a disaster, especially lately. The 35-year-old has posted a 10.13 ERA thus far in June. He started that 25-1 loss to the Angels last weekend. Prior to that, he allowed seven runs in three-plus innings against the Braves. Oddly enough, he threw a scoreless in both games. But given his recent struggles and superstars like Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman at the top of the Los Angeles lineup, the Dodgers have a good chance to jump on him early and score runs in the first inning.
Bryan Zarpentine is a 2008 graduate of Syracuse University and has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 2010. During that time, he has contributed to countless sites while covering baseball, soccer, the NFL, college football, and college basketball.More info on Bryan Zarpentine
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