It’s a loaded MLB slate tonight with 15 games set to take place starting at noon and running all the way to 9:45 PM EST. Of all the markets available to bet on, we’ll be turning our focus to the run-first-inning market and going over what two plays I will be targeting for tonight’s action.
The Boston Red Sox will be able to secure a series win with a victory tonight over the Twins as they send Garrett Whitlock to the mound. Standing in their way will be Twins ace Sonny Gray. The NRFI has cashed twice in this series, and that adds up since the Red Sox average just .12 runs per game in the first inning when playing on the road, while Minnesota is the second most profitable NFRI team in the league.
Not only do the Red Sox hardly score in the first inning on the road, but they take on a starter in Sonny Gray, that has a first-inning ERA of .64. The Twins starter has allowed just one earned run and five hits in 14 first innings entering tonight. Gray has also been dominant at home and the first time through the order this season, boasting a 2.11 FIP at home. The right-hander also holds opponents to a .188 batting average and has a 1.61 FIP the first time through the order.
Gray will face a Red Sox lineup tonight that is hitting .234 with a .661 OPS against right-handed pitching on the road over the past month, so one side of this matchup seems safe. On the other side, Garrett Whitlock will take on a Twins lineup that averages just .36 runs per game in the first inning this season and ranks 16th in OPS against right-handed pitching at home over the past month.
Whitlock has thrown seven first innings this season and has a 2.57 ERA. The Red Sox starter has not allowed a run in the first inning in three straight starts, and with the Twins not scoring a run in the first in nine of their last ten games, I think he can get his three outs unscathed tonight.
Now to the game where we can root for early offense as the Cardinals will be looking to complete their sweep over the Nationals and win their fifth straight game. The YRFI has hit once in this series, but it has occurred often when tonight’s starters, Miles Mikolas and Trevor Williams, have been on the mound. St. Louis has the lowest NRFI percentage in the league this season, and between Mikolas on the mound and Washington averaging .81 first-inning runs per game at home, I expect that to continue.
Entering tonight, Mikolas has a 7.80 first-inning ERA as he has allowed 13 runs and 27 hits in 15 innings. Opponents are hitting .333 and have a BAbip of .390 the first time through the lineup against the Cardinals starter, which has left him with an expected FIP of 4.65.
Conversely, the Cardinals are 6th in average first-inning runs scored per game, and they’ll take on Trevor Williams, who has a 3.86 first-inning ERA in 14 innings. Not only does Williams have a 4.59 ERA at home, but opponents are hitting .293 against him the first time through the order. With an ERA of 3.64 but an expected FIP of 4.50 the first time through the lineup, I think Williams is a solid guy to fade in this spot.
Red Sox @ Twins NFRI (-120) (.5 Units)
Cardinals @ Nationals YRFI (-112) (.5 Units)