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Red Sox at Yankees – Free Pick August 19th

Boston Red Sox +155 at New York Yankees -163

Josh Beckett (5-10, 5.19 ERA) vs. Hiroki Kuroda (11-8, 3.06 ERA)

One of baseball’s oldest and most contentious rivalries takes center stage on ESPN’s Sunday Night Game of the Week when the Red Sox travel down the road to visit division-leading New York.  It feels like it should be really important; Josh Beckett at the Yankees, late August heading into the stretch-run to see who will win the division and who will be relegated to the wildcard… but the story isn’t quite so familiar this year.  Let’s take a look inside some numbers and see if Josh Beckett and the Sox can stem their dismal collapse temporarily tonight in the Bronx.

The Red Sox have been a mess, both on and off the field this season, and the last month has been a whole new nightmare.  Players rebelling against management, Valentine battling players and the media, players complaining to the media… it all adds up to an ugly situation and a whole lot of losses.  The Sox are just 6-11 in the month of August, and just 3-6 over their last nine games.

Tonight, Josh Beckett will again get the ball, hoping to finally stem the tide of losing that has continuously gotten worse the last two weeks.  After a brief stretch of quality starts, he has again regressed, posting an 0-1 record and a 10.38 ERA in his last three starts.  In his last two outings he has allowed 14 runs and lasted just five innings in each.  It won’t be any easier facing the Yankees in their own ballpark tonight.

For the Yankees, the loss of CC Sabathia hurts, but the continued dominance of Kuroda makes it easier to stomach.  Kuroda has thrown two shutouts and twice held the opposition to one earned run in his last six starts and boasts and ERA of 1.20.  His ERA is about to sink below 3.00 for the first time this season and it couldn’t come at a better time for the Yankees.

I like the Yankees to drive the nail in the Boston coffin just a little deeper tonight and to light up the scoreboard against the checked-out and often petulant Josh Beckett.  The Yankees at -163 feels like a good line, but I like a little more value, so will also be doubling up on the -1.5 runline as well.

Free Pick:  New York Yankees to WIN -163 & Yankees -1.5 (+125)