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The Friday MLB slate is loaded with impressive pitching matchups to kick off the weekend. From a pair of aces in Texas to an underrated pitching matchup in New York, our MLB NRFI bets for Friday have you covered with the best of those matchups and how they will play out in the first inning.
First on our list of MLB NRFI picks for Friday is the matchup between the Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers. In that game, Joe Ryan and Max Scherzer will square off, in a battle of dominant arms. With the amount of quality on the mound for this game, we like there to be a scoreless first inning in what should be a very entertaining game headlined by these two star arms.
Ryan comes into this game at 9-8 with a 4.33 ERA, having cooled off considerably after an incredible start to the season. But there was a reason he was receiving AL Cy Young consideration earlier in the year. With the high ceiling for Ryan’s stuff on the mound being undeniable, he is still easy to back to throw a scoreless first inning without too much trepidation.
Meanwhile, Scherzer has recovered nicely from a slow start to his season as a member of the New York Mets, pitching quite well since being traded to the Rangers. He has won three of his five starts as a Ranger so far and has not allowed more than three runs in a start since joining the team. Expect him to continue to pitch at a high level in this game to help things stay scoreless in the first.
We go to New York for our next NRFI selection, as the New York Mets host the Seattle Mariners on Friday night. This game also features an excellent pitching matchup, though perhaps not one that most baseball fans would circle on the schedule. With Logan Gilbert and Kodai Senga on the mound, look for this game to go to the second inning with a pair of zeroes on the scoreboard.
So far this year, both Gilbert and Senga have been rock solid for their respective teams. Gilbert enters this game with a 12-5 record and a 3.66 ERA, while Senga was an All-Star reserve and has a 10-7 record and a 3.17 ERA. Both men have proven themselves more than capable of delivering for their respective teams and will continue to do so in the first inning and beyond in this contest.
Also working in the favor of the NRFI for this game is the fact that the Mariners strike out with such regularity. This season, the Mariners have the second most strikeouts of any team in baseball, with only the Minnesota Twins striking out more often. Look for Senga to take advantage of that in the first inning and beyond.
Our final MLB first inning total wager for Friday comes from the massive game between the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers. In that game, two very capable starting pitchers will take the mound in Max Fried and Julio Urias. However, we like this game to feature at least one run in the first inning, as both teams have so much firepower that the starting pitching situation is almost irrelevant.
This season, the Atlanta Braves lead Major League Baseball in runs scored, while the LA Dodgers rank second in that category. Both teams are averaging over 5.5 runs per game on the season, and have proven that they have the kinds of offenses that can win a championship. On top of that, both of these teams have proven that they can avoid being shut down in the first inning with regularity.
Atlanta and Los Angeles rank first and second in the league in terms of the percentage of first innings in which they have scored a run. Expect that trend to continue, even if Fried and Urias are two pitchers that command respect in most situations.
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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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