MLB Sunday YRFI/NRFI best bets today 8/14: Say yes to Yankees and Red Sox
You are probably on the YRFI/NRFI bandwagon already (after all, you’re reading this article!), but if not…well…it’s time to climb aboard. This first-inning market has become extremely popular in part because the outcomes are obviously decided right at the start of Major League Baseball games. You don’t have to slog through three-plus hours of action to find out whether or not your bet is a winner.
Here are my two favorite plays for Sunday’s MLB slate. Also be sure to read all of today’s MLB previews.
Cleveland Guardians vs Toronto Blue Jays: NRFI (-135)
Sunday afternoon’s pitching matchup in the Guardians-Blue Jays game is a great one featuring Shane Bieber and Kevin Gausman, respectively. Bieber has recaptured his form of yesteryear over his past 3 starts. The right-hander is 3-0 with only 3 earned runs allowed in 20.0 innings during this stretch of domination. Gausman, who is sporting a 2.91 ERA overall for the season, has not allowed a single run through 14.0 innings of work in August.
There is no reason to think that anything will change in this contest – at least not in the first inning. Bieber has tossed a clean opening frame in 12 of his last 13 starts. Gausman has not given up a run in either of the first 2 innings in his last 7 appearances. He hasn’t surrendered a first-inning run in any of his last 8 outings. It should also be noted that the veteran has faced Cleveland once in 2022 and allowed just 1 run in 6.1 innings.
New York Yankees vs Boston Red Sox: YRFI (-135)
Whereas no hitter in the lineups of the Guardians and Blue Jays has enjoyed any notable success against the respective opposing pitcher, the story is a much different one in this Sunday Night Baseball showdown between the Yankees and Red Sox. For New York, leadoff batter DJ LeMahieu is 7-for-18 lifetime against right-hander Michael Wacha with a trio of doubles. Anthony Rizzo, who hits in the 3-hole, has been even better; 21-for-39 in his career against Wacha with 3 home runs. Guess who bats in between LeMahieu and Rizzo. That would only be Aaron Judge. Yeah, good luck to Wacha getting through the first!
Even if Boston’s starter somehow puts up a zero, there could very well be a run – or more – scored in the bottom of the first. Xander Bogaerts has seen Jameson Taillon 17 times and 3 doubles are among his 5 hits. Leadoff man Tommy Pham is a decent 4-for-14. Pretty much all of these batters have seen these pitchers a ton, and that generally favors the offense. Moreover, Taillon has allowed 9 runs (8 earned) in 2 starts this month and Wacha has not pitched since June because of a shoulder injury.