We’re set for nine games across Major League Baseball, with action underway at 7:05 p.m. ET in the nation’s capital as the Pirates open up a series with the Nationals. Other notable contests tonight include the Twins battling the Guardians for first place in the Central and the White Sox heading to Los Angeles for a series with the Angels.
Here are my top two No Runs First Inning (NRFI) bets for tonight’s slate:
Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook
Minnesota Twins vs. Cleveland Guardians
Minnesota holds a two-game lead over Cleveland heading into this divisional set. The Twins are looking for their third straight win as they send Sonny Gray to the bump. As for the Guardians, they’ll counter with Triston McKenzie as they try to get back in the win column after being swept by the Red Sox over the weekend. The first pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. ET from Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH.
Gray gets the nod tonight and will make his 10th start. The right-hander is 3-1 on the year with a 2.53 ERA, and 1.03 WHIP over 42.2 innings pitched. Gray’s coming off a tough outing against the Guardians, where he allowed three earned runs on eight hits over 4.0 innings.
McKenzie’s been a serviceable piece for the Guardians this year and is a big part of why I consider Cleveland’s pitching staff the deepest in the American League. The right-hander has a 4-5 record with a 3.51 ERA (35th) and 1.01 WHIP (14th) over 13 starts this year. However, he was touched up for six earned runs on nine hits over 4.1 innings against the Twins last week.
Gray and McKenzie pitched against each other last Wednesday in a game that saw 21 runs (11-10 win for Cleveland). However, even though they didn’t pitch well overall, just one run scored in the first inning. Carlos Correa hit a solo home run off of McKenzie. I think these guys can dial it in and keep a clean first frame tonight in Cleveland. McKenzie has held the Twins to a .203 average over 74 at-bats, including a 1-9 from Byron Buxton. If he can keep Correa in the yard, I think we have an excellent chance to cash this NRFI.
Bet: Twins at Guardians NRFI (-125 via FanDuel)
Baltimore Orioles vs. Seattle Mariners
The Mariners have won five out of their last six games and will attempt to continue climbing the Wild Card standings as they send George Kirby to the mound tonight. The visiting Orioles will go with Tyler Wells in the opener of this three-game series. The first pitch is slated for 10:10 p.m. ET from T-Mobile Park in Seattle, WA.
Wells is putting together a nice season for the O’s and comes into tonight’s game with a 5-4 record, 3.34 ERA, and 1.10 WHIP over 14 starts. Most recently, the right-hander threw against the Nationals and held them scoreless over 5.0 innings of work. He allowed three hits in the winning effort, and the O’s have now won his last five starts.
This season, Kirby has been great for Seattle, posting a 3.12 ERA and 1.12 WHIP over nine starts. The right-hander last pitched on Wednesday against the Athletics and didn’t allow a run over 6.0 innings. He surrendered five hits and a walk while punching out six in the win.
Both of these pitchers have been in great form recently. Wells owns a 2.57 ERA over four starts in June, and he’s allowed just one run over his last 11.0 innings. As for Kirby, he held the Orioles scoreless over 6.0 frames when he pitched against them back in May. Look for each of these starters to keep a clean first inning tonight.
Bet: Orioles at Mariners NRFI (-146 via FanDuel)
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