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Our first MLB NRFI selection for Friday comes from Chicago, where the Cleveland Guardians will face the Chicago Cubs in interleague action. In this contest, both starting pitchers are of high quality, as Cal Quantrill and Justin Steele will do battle in the Windy City. Expect both of those pitchers to hang zeroes on the board in the opening inning of this matchup.
Justin Steele has been especially impressive coming into this matchup against the Guardians. He has a record of 8-2 on the season, with an ERA of 2.62. The fact that Steele was able to hold the St. Louis Cardinals in check during his last start during the London Series should be encouraging to NRFI bettors, as Steele delivered the best performance in the history of MLB’s games at London Stadium.
Cal Quantrill has not quite delivered at the level that Guardians fans may have wanted this season, but he still has a high ceiling in any of his starts. The Cleveland hurler has a 2-4 record on the year and a high ERA of 5.61. But he has plenty of talent nonetheless and should be able to get through one inning unscathed without the wheels falling off for him.
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Next up, expect the Tampa Bay Rays and Seattle Mariners to remain scoreless after their first inning of play in Seattle. The Rays are sending their ace to the hill in Shane McClanahan, while the Mariners have a decent starting pitcher set to go in this game as well. The combination of McClanahan and Bryce Miller should be enough to get this game to the second inning without any runs crossing the plate.
McClanahan has been phenomenal so far this season for the Rays, going a jaw-dropping 11-1 with an ERA of 2.23. He is averaging over a strikeout per inning and is also giving up a home run every 9.3 innings, or less than once per game. Look for McClanahan to come in and shut the Mariners down in the bottom of the first inning, and for him to be a real threat to get to 12 wins on the year in this contest.
Also important to note heading into Friday’s MLB action is the fact that the Rays have not been as good with their bats of late as usual. Tampa Bay ranks second in baseball in runs scored this season, but they have failed to score five runs in four of their last five games. That should work in Seattle’s favor as they rely on Bryce Miller to hold Tampa scoreless in the top half of the first inning.
Our final MLB NRFI selection for Friday comes from Pittsburgh, in the NL Central battle between the Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates. Both of these teams are within five games of one another in the NL Central standings heading into Friday. And based on their scoring stats so far this season, we could very well see a game with no runs heading into inning number two.
Both of these teams rank in the bottom 10 in Major League Baseball in runs scored entering Friday night. The Pirates are tied for 23rd in the league in runs scored on the season, while the Brewers rank 26th in that department. Both of these struggling offenses will once again have a hard time pushing runs across the plate when they face one another in this contest.
As for the pitching matchup in this game, that could also lend itself to a scoreless first inning. Freddy Peralta takes the mound for the Brewers who, despite his high ERA, was once in the Cy Young conversation in the National League. He faces a pitcher in Oswaldo Bido who has only thrown 15.2 innings this season, and the lack of familiarity with Bido could work against the Brewers early in this matchup.
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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