I’m back! Will They or Won’t They number two is on deck after sweeping the first-ever one a few days ago. We had two No Run In The First Inning plays cash, and I’ve got another Best Bet ready to go. This season, some pitchers have unbelievable first-inning streaks, while some get lit up in the first inning. Go here for the latest MLB defensive stats.
I’m going to take a look at who is going to keep us in the black for article number two. Make sure you follow me on Twitter @PickManagement for more MLB and NRFI/YRFI free plays.
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Oakland Athletics vs. Houston Astros – Sunday, May 21, 2023, 2:10 pm EST
The Oakland Athletics are in the middle of a three-game series with the red-hot Houston Astros. The A’s will put Kyle Muller on the mound to face off versus Framer Valdez.
When it comes to offense, the Oakland A’s are currently sitting 16 spots below (3.78) the league average (4.58) when it comes to overall offense. That’s actually a good thing when it comes to low scoring or no scoring first innings. The Astros are better but are still below the league average just by four spots (4.45 ERA), though.
As I said before, Kyle Muller is on the bump for Oakland. Overall he has been struggling this season. He currently has a 1-3 record with a 7.71 ERA in nine starts and 42 innings pitched.
He’s got a 1.95 WHIP and walked 21 batters in just the last 15 games. If you keep digging into his numbers, though, he is stellar in the first inning. He currently has an 8-1 NRFI record so far this season. He gave up four runs to the Yankees, but that’s it. To sweeten that, he’s taking on the number three team in the league for NRFI offensively in the Astros (25-19). I think this is perfectly set up for Muller and the A’s to do their part to help us cash an NRFI.
On the other side, the Astros will send 3-4, 2.84 ERA Framber Valdez to the mound. Valdez, like Muller, has been lights out in the first inning. He has shut out seven of the nine teams he’s faced so far this season. He is taking on an offensively inept Oakland team, and I think he will dominate them the whole game, not just the first inning.
The entire Oakland team has faced Valdez 35 times. He’s only walked three batters in those at-bats and had one run scored. Of course, that’s for the whole game, not just the first inning, but it shows you how much he’s dominated the A’s.
So, there we have it. Two pitchers who, on the surface, are not terrific but have cashed a combined 16-3 no run in the first inning plays so far this season. The Astros face the number 26th-ranked offense in the Athletics, and that, combined with the dominance of Framber Valdez over the A’s, will give us yet another win in the first inning. They say it takes six outs to reach glory, and I think we reach that here.
No Run In The First Inning (-104)
Miami Marlins vs. San Francisco Giants Sunday, May 21, 2023, 2:15 pm EST
For the second pick in our Will They or Won’t They article, we visit the number one team in the MLB for not scoring in the first inning, the Miami Marlins. So far this season, the Marlins have not scored in 31 out of the 45 games played. As a favorite, they are 15-4 NRFI, and as a dog, 16-10. They face the SF Giants, who are right in the middle of the pack for NRFI, but at home, they are 14-7. So we have two shutdown NRFI teams, which get even better when you look at their pitching.
The Miami Marlins are sending Jesus Luzardo to the mound to face San Francisco. Jesus Luzardo currently has a 3-2 record with a 3.16 ERA and 55 strikeouts. However, we are focusing on his first-inning numbers here, which are astounding. Jesus Lazardo has only given up one run in the first inning all season.
In nine games started, he has only given up one run all season. He has faced the Giants once already this season, and they didn’t score in the first inning, either. In the game, he faced the Giants; he pitched 4.1 innings and gave up six hits and three runs, but as I said, there were no runs in the first inning, but there also weren’t any hits or walks. So I’m counting on Jesus Luzardo to continue his shutdown first-inning trend.
The Giants are counting on 2.87 ERA Alex Wood to shut down this Marlins team. Alex Wood has been lights on in the first inning too. In five games started this season, he has yet to give up a run in the first inning, which includes facing the Marlins on April 18. He only pitched 2.1 innings in that game but gave up just one hit, one walk, and one run. I think he will be able to continue his NRFI trend here, though.
No Run In The First Inning (-132)
So there we have it. Two pitchers are a combined 14-1 NRFI so far this season, including 2-0 against each other. The Marlins are the number one NRFI in the league, which adds to my confidence in this play even more. So let’s go 2-0 again in these plays and continue to be perfect in my No Run In The First Inning selections. If you want more free picks and thoughts on the MLB and more, visit me on Twitter @PickManagement, where you’ll find more plays than you can handle!