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NRFI Picks For MLB | May 21


Thomas Snodgrass

Updated: May 21, 2024

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Since May 1st, I am a collective 27-14 on NRFI picks in these articles.

That is a profit of 7.7 units.

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And now, some NRFI picks, with the best odds of course.

Milwaukee Brewers vs. Miami Marlins

The Miami Marlins host the Milwaukee Brewers tonight, and both of these clubs have been producing offensively of late.

Over their last 10 games, the Marlins are averaging 4.4 runs per game and the Brewers are averaging 5.3 runs per game, but neither team has been spectacularly successful in the first inning.

Here’s a look at the Brewers and Marlins’ offenses in their last 10 first innings, courtesy of BestOdds EDGE:

Milwaukee and Miami’s offenses have scored a run in just three of their last 20 combined first innings.

These offenses have been in a decent spot, but they do most of their damage the second time through the batting order or later.

Marlins’ southpaw Trevor Rogers will take the hill in the bottom of the first, and while his overall numbers this season have been uninspiring (1-6, 5.79 ERA), he has been able to keep the first inning clean.

Rogers has allowed a whopping .307 opponent average and a 1.76 WHIP this season, but in the opening frame, he has allowed just a .156 average and a 0.67 WHIP.

If the first inning is Rogers’ best inning, then he may be a decent pitcher to back on NRFIs regardless of his demotion-worthy statistics.

The Brewers will be sending a lefty of their own to the mound in the bottom half of the first in the recently-promoted Robert Gasser.

Gasser (2-0, 0.82 ERA) has not looked overmatched in his limited time in the big leagues, and he only allowed one baserunner to reach in each of his two first inning appearances.

Considering the Marlins’ inefficient offensive production in the first inning, Gasser could start his career with a solid 3-0 NRFI record.

Miami is only hitting .214 in the first inning, and they no longer have two-time batting champion Luis Arraez batting leadoff, so this Marlins squad should continue to struggle manufacturing runs early on.

Pick: No Run First Inning (NRFI)

Best Odds: (-125) FanDuel

San Francisco Giants vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

Today’s pitching matchup at PNC Park in Pittsburgh features two veteran arms that have not been so great in the first inning.

Pirates’ lefty Martin Perez was shelled in his previous outing, allowing 11 hits and nine earned runs in five innings of work against the Milwaukee Brewers.


The opposing San Francisco Giants have been hitting decently in the first inning too, producing a .255 average and scoring a run in the opening frame in four of their last 10 games.

There’s not much to like about the recent results from Perez, but much like Marlins’ lefty Trevor Rogers, he can still keep the first inning clean, even if he gets bashed the second time through the batting order.

BestOdds EDGE provides us a visual on Perez’ last five first innings.

Perez continues to allow baserunners to reach early in the game, but he seems to find a way to dance out of danger.

A pitcher’s ability to strand runners is an often overlooked skill, and in the first inning, that appears to be Perez’ favorite inning to strand men on base.

It’s a roll of the dice to back Perez on a NRFI, but considering the Giants’ typical top of the batting order of Jorge Soler (.211), LaMonte Wade (.321), Thairo Estrada (.250), and Matt Chapman (.239), I may be able to roll the dice here without hitting snake eyes.

Webb on the other hand, he’s been a quality pitcher all season, but he has dealt with some early hiccups.

Webb (4-4, 3.03 ERA) has allowed a .279 opponent average and a 1.40 WHIP in the first inning, and that’s not amazing by any means.

What is amazing is the usual 1-2-3 in Pittsburgh’s lineup, Andrew McCutchen, Bryan Reynolds, and Oneil Cruz, are a combined 1-for-11 (.091) against Webb in their careers.

Perez should be able to keep the San Francisco runners from touching home in the first inning in a potential bounceback start, and the Pirates’ top of the lineup will make Webb’s early work a little easier, too.

Pick: No Run First Inning (NRFI)

Best Odds: (-110) Caesars

Chicago White Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays

The Chicago White Sox battle the Toronto Blue Jays north of the border tonight in what is another left-handed duel.

Chicago’s southpaw Garrett Crochet has been dynamite in the first inning, allowing a run in just one first inning appearance in 10 starts.

Toronto’s lefty, Yusei Kikuchi, has not done nearly as well, allowing a run in the first in three of nine outings, all of his opening-frame scores coming in his last four starts.


The good news for Kikuchi is that Chicago has hit just .150 in the first inning in their last 10 games, and they’ve scored a run in the first in just one game in that time.

FUN FACT: The White Sox have hit .196 against left-handed pitching this season! That’s dead-last in all of baseball! They are the only team hitting less than .200 against lefties, too!

Kikuchi should get the job done.

As for Crochet, Chicago’s southpaw has been dynamite in the first inning, allowing a run in just one first inning appearance in 10 starts.

BestOdds EDGE’s side-by-side comparison of Crochet and Kikuchi’s first-inning stats paints a bigger picture of Crochet’s early dominance.

A sub-.100 opponent average and less than half a baserunner in the first inning is opening-frame excellence from Crochet.

The ultimate reason I’m backing this NRFI today is the offenses.

Look at the offensive struggles in the first inning from both Chicago and Tornto over the last 10 games, courtesy of BestOdds EDGE:

That’s some quiet first-inning offense from these two.

Kikuchi and Crochet will be hitting more catcher’s mitts than bat barrels in the first inning tonight.

Pick: No Run First Inning (NRFI)

Best Odds: (-125) Caesars


About the author

A fan of both the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers, which is rare! Thomas provides sports betting content with the intent to educate and enter...

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