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Our first bet on the NRFI market on Friday comes in the form of a first inning over in the game between the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays. In this matchup, Jhony Brito takes the mound for the Yankees, while Yonny Chirinos gets the start in a bullpen day for the Rays. Here, we like the Rays’ chances of getting on the board in the first inning especially, as they take on a struggling starting pitcher for the Yankees.
So far this season, Jhony Brito has gone 2-3 with a 5.56 ERA for New York’s American League representatives. New York has lost three of the last four games that Brito has started in, including two starts against the Minnesota Twins where he really struggled early on. Against the most explosive offensive team in baseball so far in 2023, Brito’s early-game struggles will continue at Tropicana Field.
Also working in the Rays’ favor as they look to put up an early run or two in this game is the fact that Brito struggles with his control. In 22.2 innings of work this season, Brito has allowed 11 walks, with those free passes being converted into runs more regularly than the Yankees would like. Extra baserunners will only enhance the chances of the Rays getting on the board in the bottom of the first.
A marquee pitching matchup is set to take place on Friday night, when the Los Angeles Dodgers take on the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. While both Clayton Kershaw and Yu Darvish are in their mid-30s and past their respective primes, both are pitching well so far in 2023. We like them to continue doing so, as this game in the NL West should see a scoreless first inning take place.
Kershaw has been one of the best pitchers in baseball early in the 2023 season despite questions going into the year about what he had left in the tank. The Dodgers ace is 5-1 on the year with a 1.89 ERA, and he has allowed just one earned run over his last 20 innings of work across his last three starts. Look for him to keep rolling in this contest to help us reach a run-free first inning.
On the other side, Yu Darvish is 1-2 with a 3.60 ERA, but he deserves a bit of a break after he had to pitch in last week’s Mexico City Series. With the high altitude South of the border leading to more scoring than usual, Darvish’s numbers may not fully represent who he has been this season. Even so, his numbers have been solid and he should be able to retire the Dodgers in the first inning without them pushing a run across.
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Our final MLB NRFI play for Friday comes in the final game on the Friday schedule between the Milwaukee Brewers and San Francisco Giants. In that game, Corbin Burnes will get the ball for the Brewers, with Sean Manaea toeing the rubber for San Francisco. Both of these pitchers have been underwhelming so far this season, but we like them to do enough to retire their respective opponents without any scoring taking place in the first.
Burnes is 3-1 this season with a 4.01 ERA, which is high given that he was expected to win the NL Cy Young early in the season. But he is rounding back into form of late after giving up six runs to the New York Mets a few starts ago. Over his last four outings, Burnes has allowed no more than two earned runs, and his recent improvement will show again in the form of a scoreless opening frame.
On the other side of this pitching matchup is Sean Manaea, who has been dreadful early on for the Giants. Manaea is 0-1 with an ERA of 7.85 for the year, but he is taking on a Milwaukee offense that is in the middle of the pack in terms of scoring this season. Expect Manaea to do enough to keep the Brewers at bay in the first inning of this contest, as the Brew Crew feel him out in the early stages of this one.
Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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