MLB picks Friday 9/9: YRFI & NRFI best bets today - Showdown in SoCal

San Diego Padres starting pitcher Mike Clevinger (52) throws a pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

One of the shortest-lasting bets you can make in an MLB game is if a run will be scored in the first inning. All it takes is 6 outs to glory, but one swing of the bat can make or break your bet. There is also a lot of value in these bets because the odds are usually very well priced and if you’re not a fan of sweating out your bets for 3 hours, this one will take only about 15 minutes to win or lose.

I went 2-0 in my last two YRFI/NRFI picks, and there are 2 YRFI/NRFI bets I like today, so let’s get right into it.

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Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Diego Padres: NRFI (-120)

Mike Clevinger has been playing lights-out in the first inning this season, especially against the Dodgers. He has not allowed a first-inning run in 11 of his last 12 outings, and his ERA in the first inning has lowered to 1.06. Opponents are hitting just .167 against Clevinger in the first, and it’s been very common to see him sit down the batters in order – something he’s done nearly twice against the Dodgers. In his first start against the Dodgers this season, he went 1-2-3 against Mookie Betts, Trea Turner and Freddie Freeman. In his second start, he was a throwing error away from a 1-2-3 inning. However, Will Smith got out in the next at-bat, so Clevinger has yet to allow a hit in the first inning against the Dodgers.

Dustin May couldn’t have asked for an easier first two starts. He faced the Marlins twice, who rank 30th in batting average, OBP, SLG and OPS since the all-star break. To very little surprise, he dominated them for 1 earned run and 5 hits in 11 innings. However, his first test was this same Padres team, and May got tagged for 6 runs and 4 hits in 5 innings. His 5 walks came back to bite him several times, but it should be noted he did not allow a hit to the Padres through their first time through the order. In the park that ranks as the hardest place to get a hit and home run, back a scoreless first inning in San Diego.

Cleveland Guardians vs Minnesota Twins: NRFI (-120)

It’s Dylan Bundy day! As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Bundy has not allowed a first-inning run in 10 of his last 11 starts, and it feels right to continue to back one of the most profitable NRFI pitchers this season. The veteran now has a 3.00 ERA with a .222 BAA in the first inning, and he will make this start in Minnesota, which should give Bundy even more confidence. The comfort of starting at home is a big factor for Bundy, who has a 2.80 ERA at home and a 5.28 ERA on the road, so having him start at home is a bonus. Bundy will face a Guardians offense that has not scored a first-inning run in 12 consecutive games, yet another bonus for the veteran.

His 3.55 season ERA is respectable, but his 1.73 first-inning ERA is eye-catching. Cal Quantrill has been dominant in the first frame this season as opponents are hitting just .163 against him. He has not allowed a first-inning run in 14 of his last 15 starts, so he’s been having close to the same first frame dominance as Bundy. One of those scoreless first innings was against Minnesota too, so he’s had prior success against the top of the Twins lineup. Quantrill has improved as the season has gone on as opponents hit .263 against him in the first half, but just .216 since the all-star break. The Twins were without Luis Arraez and Jorge Polanco on Thursday, and there’s worry they could miss this game too, along with Byron Buxton, who is still on the injured list. I see a 0-0 first inning in Minnesota.

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