MLB picks Friday 9/1: YRFI & NRFI best bets today: Scherzer starts September with a scoreless first

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Kyle Lupas


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Born and raised in Northeast Pennsylvania and a former college baseball player, I'm an avid fan and handicapper of the MLB, NBA, NFL and NCAA's. Looking to find an edge by any means necessary. A lifelong Phillies fan, I was still unable to get my learner's permit the last time they made a postseason appearance. For Kyle Lupas media enquiries, please email
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Don’t like sitting around for the entirety of a baseball game waiting for your bet to cash? Well then, the YRFI/NRFI market may be your new favorite betting strategy. Just reserve about 10 to 15 minutes to watch the first inning and forget about the other eight. We have all 30 teams in action today, starting in Cincinnati with a double-header between the Cubs and the Reds and wrapping up in Los Angeles with a potential NLCS preview between the Dodgers and Braves. So, let’s get right into it, and don’t forget to check out our MLB picks on the side and total for every game today.

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Miami Marlins vs Washington Nationals: NRFI (-118)

Our first game comes out of Washington with a pitching rematch from August 26 between Eury Perez and Jake Irvin. Perez, the 20-year-old Miami phenom tossed 6.0 scoreless innings on 3 hits, 1 walk, and 7 strikeouts against the Nats in his last outing. It was the second consecutive 6.0-inning shutout for Perez, who owns a 2.68 ERA across his first 15 outings as a Major Leaguer. Perez has shown significant upside, and his underlying metrics speak volumes on the type of impact he’s already had in a small sample size. Perez has swing and miss stuff, and his 34.5% whiff rate and 30.4% strikeout rate are both in the 90th percentile or better. I’m projecting Perez to get past a struggling Nats’ lineup that’s plated just 1 run over their last 2 games.

Washington counters with Jake Irvin, who also had a tremendous outing his last time out. Irvin held the Marlins to 1 earned run on 4 hits and pitched to a 2.35 ERA across 4 starts in August. With Irvins’ ERA sitting at 4.30 through 20 starts, this is unarguably his best stretch of the season. Unlike Perez, Irvin doesn’t possess overpowering stuff on the mound and his strikeout rate is at a pedestrian 18.8%. However, his 37.8% hard-hit rate is slightly above average, and the Marlins haven’t been the biggest of threats at the plate. Miami scored just 96 runs in the month of August, which was tied for last with the Oakland Athletics. Jorge Soler slugged 10 home runs in the month, but Luis Arraez has cooled off significantly, with an August slash line of .236/.243/.336. It’s a good time to fade the Marlins’ lineup and I’m backing a scoreless first inning.

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Minnesota Twins vs Texas Rangers: NRFI (-125)

I’m sticking with the same philosophy as I did with my first pick, and that’s to back a scoreless first inning in a pitching rematch from less than a week ago. Joe Ryan and Max Scherzer went head-to-head on August 26 and allowed a combined 3 earned runs with 17 strikeouts across 12 frames. Ryan struck out the side in the top half of the first inning, while Scherzer responded with 2 strikeouts of his own in the bottom half. I’m looking for similar results tonight, and since his move to Texas, Scherzer has looked sharper than he has all season. Through 5 starts, Scherzer owns a 2.64 ERA with a 0.91 WHIP and 2 outings with 10+ strikeouts.

Ryan certainly doesn’t have better numbers than Scherzer, but he’s pitched much better than his numbers suggest. His 3.33 xERA is a full run lower than his 4.33 ERA, and his 29.3% strikeout rate paired with a 5.0% walk rate will typically translate to some solid outings. In the first inning alone this season, Ryan has an absurd 34 strikeouts to just 1 walk. If a team is going to beat Ryan in the first inning, they’re going to have to put the ball in play. Knowing that Ryan has great command at least gives me a sense of ease that he won’t self-destruct and walk the bases loaded. With that said, let’s side with a quiet first inning out of Arlington.

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