Scherzer, Alcantara among Opening Day spots

Major League Baseball’s Opening Day with all its traditions is Thursday.

Which means it’s time for the return of the tradition of betting together: NRFIs.

For those accustomed to overs and unders, run lines and moneylines, NRFI is no runs in the first innings.

This is what a bet sounds like: you are placing money with the expectation that both teams will not score runs in the first innings.

Or at least one team scores in the first innings if you are betting on YRFI (yes runs in the first innings).

NRFIs don’t come easily and it can be like throwing darts if you’re not watching the stats closely.

You need two very good starting pitches as well as a little bit of luck.

Opening Day – and the first few weeks, for that matter – is the best time for NRFI because pitching matchups often feature each team’s ace.

And those opportunities could keep cropping up for another week or so as the stars and pitching rotation align.

For Thursday’s Opening Day NRFI, we have four pitching matchups to embrace.



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mlb picks opening day

Opening Day No Run First Inning Matchup

  • Blue Jays (Manoh) at Cardinals (Mikolas) -145, 4:10 PM ET
  • Twins (Lopez) at Royals (Greenk) -120 at 4:10 PM ET
  • Marlins (Alcantara) -185 at Mets (Scherzer) 4:10 PM ET
  • Diamondbacks (Gallen) at Dodgers (Ureas) -135, 10:10 PM ET

Blue Jays Vs. cardinal prediction

This could be the best of Thursday’s NRFI chances as the opposing pitchers were two of the best last season.


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Toronto Blue Jays starter Alec Manoah was the eighth best pitcher to not allow a first inning.

His NRFI rate was 68 percent (21-10).

scheduled tribe. St. Louis Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas was almost as good, ranking 11th best with 20 in 32 starts (63 percent).

The fact that both of these teams rank in the bottom half of the league in terms of allowing first innings speaks to how good both of these pitchers are at unheard of firsts.

Twins Vs. royals prediction

This matchup causes a standstill, but not for too long.

That’s because the pair has value.

While Pablo López of the Minnesota Twins was 21st in NRFIs last year (18 of 32 starts/56 percent), he held his own at the end of the season.

He finished the season 8–2 on the NRFI in his last 10 games.

Even though Kansas City Royals starter Zack Greinke (39) is one of baseball’s oldest pitchers, he knew how to do NRFI last year.

He had a 79 percent rate (19–7) with a 0.98 ERA over his last 18.1 innings.


Max Scherzer #21 of the New York Mets
Max Scherzer #21 of the New York Mets
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Mets Vs. Marlins Predictions

This seems like a no brainer choice for any NRFI.

Eventually, these pitches built a career on fooling batters early in the order.

New York Mets starter Max Scherzer finished 70th for NRFI at 14-9 (61 percent), numbers we usually avoid.

However, Alcantara is second at 23 in 32 starts (72 percent) and has hits in seven of his last 10 starts.

Still, we would suggest betting on this matchup because of the scare factor.

While Alcantara would fool batters with his pitches, Scherzer would play with his head.


Miami Marlins pitcher Sandy Alcantara
Miami Marlins pitcher Sandy Alcantara
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Scherzer took full advantage of the new pitch clock rules during spring training, throwing to one batter with two seconds left on the clock and then pitching to another as soon as he entered the hitter’s box.

Advantage Scherzer and Alcantara. Benefits NRFI.

Diamondbacks Vs. dodgers prediction

If you’re ready for NRFI before bedtime, look no further than Arizona Diamondbacks starter Zach Gallen and Los Angeles Dodgers starter Julio Urias.

Gallon has a higher than seventh-most NRFI (22-9 at 71 percent), while hitting in seven of his last 10 starts.

He is one of the few pitchers who fooled the Dodgers last season, allowing a 0.64 ERA over 14 innings.

Urias can’t be in Galen’s company after hitting 42 percent (13-18) of his NRFI.

Yet he mastered his opponent last season against the Diamondbacks, compiling a 0.79 ERA in 11.1 innings.

That may be a bit of a stretch, but Urias already seemed to be in midseason form during the World Baseball Classic and spring training.

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