RIFI Weekend Outlook: Two Yes’ and Two No’s for MLB Runs in First Inning Bets This Weekend

Hunter Greene, Adam Wainwright Matchup Among Those to Consider

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ visit to San Francisco and the Chicago Cubs’ trip to the Bronx are among the more high-profile series in Major League Baseball this weekend. But all of them offer up a chance to test your skills on MLB runs in first inning betting odds. Let’s take a closer look at some of the other matchups to consider.

Perez, Giolito Stingy in First

Martin Perez’s remarkable start has been the story for the Texas Rangers early on. As part of his march to the top of the ERA leaderboards (1.56), the veteran has been unscored upon in both the first and second innings. Opponents are hitting a paltry .137 against him in those frames.

Considering that Perez on Saturday will be facing a Chicago White Sox lineup that is 25th in the majors in first-inning runs at home (0.33 per game) and is still without leadoff star Tim Anderson, it could be an easy frame.

Giolito has surrendered three first-inning runs in his nine starts, but two were on April 29. He is 2-0 with a 2.38 ERA in his career against Texas and the current Rangers are an unsightly 5-for-44 with 19 strikeouts against the former first-rounder.

We like both to get through unscathed, although Marcus Semien’s hot streak (10-for-17, four homers) atop the Texas lineup gives us some pause on Giolito.

Rookie Greene, Old Man Wainwright Meet for First Time

Someday Hunter Greene may have the lofty career stats and achievements of Adam Wainwright, but right now the hard-throwing righty is still finding his way.

Part of that process is getting through the first inning without an issue, something that hasn’t come easy for Greene. He has allowed six first-inning runs in 11 starts, with two home runs and two doubles among the 10 hits he has given up. And he doesn’t waste much time – the first batter he has faced in those 11 starts is 6-for-10 with a home run and a walk.

Even more alarming is the fact that Greene has walked nine batters in the opening frame – 11 in the first 25 pitches of a game. The Cardinals, who are sixth in the majors with an average of 0.78 runs per the first inning, will be ready to pounce on a warm Saturday afternoon at Busch.

As for Wainwright, he’s been spectacular early on, but there’s reason to believe the improving Reds lineup can get to him early. One of the 40-year-old’s worst frames is the first, in which he has a 4.91 ERA. Eight of his 22 total walks come in that inning, and Cincinnati got two runs off of him in the first on April 24, a 27-pitch struggle that featured a double, two walks, a sac fly, and a single.

The Reds scored eight first-inning runs in splitting a four-game set against Arizona to begin the week. A laughingstock not long ago, they are becoming a quality bet as it relates to MLB runs in first inning betting.

Pirates, Braves Offenses Slow to Get Going

Jose Quintana has struggled of late, but those issues have not extended to the first inning for the Pittsburgh Pirates veteran. In fact, the only run he’s given up in 11 first-inning opportunities was on a first-pitch solo homer by Andrew McCutchen on April 28.

On Sunday, he’ll face an Atlanta Braves lineup that scores just 24.14% of the time in the first, 22nd-lowest in the majors.

On the other side sits Kyle Wright, who has given up six earned runs in 32 innings over his last five starts. Wright did give up two runs in the first inning his last time out and two against the Mets a little over a month ago, but the numbers suggest some misfortune in those situations. Opponents’ BABIP is .375 in the first, and even when they’re getting hits it’s almost always soft stuff (11 of 12 first-inning hits are singles). Take away a few bloops and seeing-eye grounders and he has a cleaner first-inning line.

Pittsburgh, like Atlanta, sits in the bottom third in the MLB rankings in terms of first-inning scoring.

Springs, Sands (and Perhaps Other Watery Items) Meet in Minnesota

Sunday’s series finale between the Tampa Bay Rays and Minnesota Twins at Target Field will pit emerging southpaw Jeffrey Springs for the visitors against struggling rookie Cole Sands.

Making his third career start, Sands needs to show something – anything – to let the Twins know he’s worth keeping around. The 24-year-old has an 8.49 ERA, serving up four home runs and six walks in his 11⅔ innings in the bigs. Additionally, he’s allowed five first-inning runs in his two starts, including three to the New York Yankees in a rocky showing Tuesday night.

Tampa Bay ranks fourth overall in runs per first inning on the road (0.74).

Springs is on the other end of the spectrum, allowing just four runs in 27⅓ innings over his last four starts after blanking St. Louis for six frames his last time out, however, the Twins are no pushover, especially in the opening inning. Behind table-setter Luis Arraez, who entered Friday leading the majors in batting (.359) and on-base percentage (.447), they lead the American League with 0.81 runs per the first inning.

Minnesota has been even better of late, setting the pace in terms of MLB runs in the first inning with at least one in five of six games entering the series.

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