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Best NRFI Bets Today, October 19

Written by: Bryan Zarpentine
Published October 19, 2023
11 min read
Best NRFI Bets Today October 19

Philadelphia Phillies vs Arizona Diamondbacks - Ranger Suarez vs Brandon Pfaadt

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Philadelphia’s propensity for first-inning home runs in this series makes it hard not to bet on YRFI. Oddly enough, both teams had struggled to score in the first inning of games during the earlier rounds of the postseason. But with the Phillies intent on hitting home runs early and both teams using back-end starters in Game 3, there could be some early fireworks again. With Ranger Suarez and Brandon Pfaadt on the mound, there is a good chance of first-inning runs in Game 3.

Pfaadt starting is a huge concern for the Diamondbacks. To his credit, he had an ERA of 3.00 in the first inning of his starts during the regular season. He also kept the Dodgers scoreless for 4.2 innings during the NLDS. Pfaadt also pitched five-plus scoreless innings in two of his last three starts during the regular season. At the same time, the Brewers scored a first-inning run against him in the Wild CardRound, meaning Pfaadt has allowed a run in the first inning in three of his seven starts since the beginning of September. He’s also facing a lineup that he’s never faced before but throws home run threats at pitchers right away. That makes it tough to bet on Pfaadt keeping the Phillies scoreless in the first inning.

There are also reasons to doubt Suarez’s ability to keep the Diamondbacks off the scoreboard in the first inning. To be fair, Suarez has allowed just one run over his 8.2 postseason innings, silencing the Braves during the NLDS. But the lefty had a troubling 4.91 ERA in the first inning of games during the regular season. Three of his last six regular-season starts saw Suarez giving up a run in the first inning. The trio of Corbin Carroll, Ketel Marte, and Tommy Pham is capable of creating trouble for any pitching, especially with Marte going 6 for 15 (.400) against Suarez in his career. With Arizona’s back against the wall in a home game, the D’Backs know they need to make something happen and will be aggressive in trying to score in the first inning.

Houston Astros vs Texas Rangers - Jose Urquidy vs Andrew Heaney

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Games 1 and 3 of this series remained scoreless after the first inning. In fact, the Rangers have only scored first-inning runs in three of their eight postseason games while the Astros have only scored in the first inning twice in their seven playoff games. It feels like first-inning runs should be a lot more common given the offensive talent on both sides. To be fair, both Jose Urquidy and Andrew Heaney have been solid in the first inning of games this year. However, both have also struggled against the hitters they’ll face in the first inning, which leads us to believe that one of these teams will find a way to score in the first inning.

Heaney made 28 starts for the Rangers during the regular season and posted a solid 3.54 ERA in the first inning. He also kept the Orioles scoreless in the first inning of his start against the Orioles during the ALDS. But that start came 12 days ago, so the southpaw could be a little rusty. He’s also facing a tough matchup against the Houston lineup, especially after the Astros scored eight runs in Game 3. Leadoff hitter Jose Altuve is 12 for 37 (.324) with five extra-base hits in his career against Heaney while Alex Bregman is 11 for 35 (.314) against Heaney. That could lead to traffic on the base paths in the first inning, giving the Astros a good chance to score in the first inning.

On the other side, Urquidy had an unusual season, only making 10 starts because of an injury. It wasn’t a particularly good season for the righty, although he was effective in the first inning, yielding just three runs on five hits in the first inning of those 10 starts for a 2.70 ERA. However, he has the same concerns as Heaney does, as he hasn’t pitched in over a week. Urquidy also allowed a first-inning run against the Twins in his ALDS start and faces an unforgiving Texas lineup in Game 4 on Thursday. Leadoff hitter Marcus Semien is 8 for 21 (.381) with five extra-base hits in his career against Urquidy. Corey Seager, who is hitting .333 with an OPS of 1.082 during the postseason, is 3 for 9 with two extra-base hits in his career against Urquidy. 

Much like the Astros, the Rangers have a good chance to get runners on base for the heart of their batting order in the opening inning. That’s why we suspect at least one of these teams will score in the first inning of Game 4.

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AUTHOR

Bryan Zarpentine

199 Articles

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.

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