MLB picks Wednesday 8/31: YRFI & NRFI best bets today - Joe Musgrove is anything but average

San Diego Padres starting pitcher Joe Musgrove (44) throws a pitch against the Kansas City Royals in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium.

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.

There are 2 YRFI/NRFI bets I like today, so let’s get right into it.

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San Diego Padres vs San Francisco Giants: NRFI (-140)

The Giants have the highest rate of NRFI’s in the league as there has not been a run scored in 77 of their 126 games (61.1%), before Tuesday’s game. That number only climbs when they’re at home as the NRFI is 43-20 (68.3%) in San Francisco, and although this number is a little steep, it’s worth the price. In Alex Wood’s 11 starts at home, he has allowed a first inning run twice. The NRFI is 7-0 in his last 7 starts at home, and it’s because Oracle Park is very pitcher-friendly and Wood thrives in the first inning. Oracle Park is the 8th hardest stadium to score a run in and 4th hardest to hit a home run in, so as long as neither team aims for Triples Alley, we likely won’t see an extra-base hit. 

Joe Musgrove has been excellent in the first frame this season with a 1.57 ERA and has limited the hitters to a .202 batting average. He has not allowed a first inning run in 10 of his last 11 starts and has been lights out in the first half of games during that 11-game stretch. The Padres’ offense has been very unpredictable in the last few weeks and they’ve struggled mightily in the first half of games, so I’ll hope that trend continues by taking the NRFI in San Francisco.

Be sure to check out our full San Diego Padres vs San Francisco Giants predictions

Kansas City Royals vs Chicago White Sox: YRFI (-115)

The YRFI has been an incredibly profitable spot for Kris Bubic’s starts this season. The YRFI is 7-2 in his last 9 starts, and most of those YRFI’s are due to Bubic’s horrible first inning stats. The lefty has a 9.45 ERA and is allowing opponents to have a .288 batting average and a .408 OBP. He also has a walk rate above 10% and has been allowed 17 walks in the first inning this season while the next most in an inning is 8, so whether it’s nerves or something else, Bubic rarely has control in the first frame. He’s had a terrible August with a 6.12 ERA and a 1.72 WHIP and it’s honestly surprising to see him not in the bullpen yet. The White Sox offense might not be as dominant against lefties as they were last season, but they still rank 7th in OPS and 5th in wRC+ against southpaw pitching in 2022. 

If the White Sox offense fails to score against Bubic, I still have faith a run can come in the first inning against Lance Lynn. The YRFI is 7-3 in Lynn’s last 10 starts and his first inning struggles have been a season-long issue. He has a 6.43 ERA and opponents have a .312 batting average with a .386 OBP in the first frame. Before Tuesday night’s game, the YRFI was 35-25 in Kansas City’s 60 games on the road and was on a 5-0 streak. Whether it’s only one of the teams or both squads, there should be at least one run in the first frame in Chicago.

Be sure to check out our full Kansas City Royals vs Chicago White Sox predictions

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