Freefalling Red Sox Finish Set At Yankees

By: Michael Robinson | Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Boston Red Sox are quickly running out of time to make a playoff run. The task doesn’t get any easier on Sunday night as they conclude a weekend series at the hated New York Yankees.

The Don Best odds screen will have the opening lines shortly and ESPN will have the national telecast beginning at 8:00 p.m. (ET). The pitching matchup is Josh Beckett against Hiroki Kuroda.

This series opened Friday in the Bronx with Boston again coming out on the losing end (6-4). Saturday’s Game 2 was still pending with the struggling Jon Lester a 110 ‘dog against David Phelps and New York. The total in that one was 9 ½.

The Red Sox are 3-7 against the Yankees this year. The ‘over’ is 7-3 (5-1 in the last six).

Boston is on a ‘highway to hell’ this season and manager Bobby Valentine is the bus driver. There was a recent report that many players met with ownership to have him fired in late July, and the Bobby V. experiment is clearly not working.

The Red Sox are now 6.5 games out of a wild-card spot and trailing multiple teams. It’s hard to believe this underachieving bunch has MLB’s second-highest payroll, only trailing the Yanks.

Having Beckett (5-10, 5.19 ERA) on the mound isn’t exactly comforting to Red Sox fans. He was absolutely rocked in his last two
starts, 14 earned runs (five homers) over 10 1/3 innings vs. Texas and at Baltimore. Boston is just 2-9 in his last 11 starts overall (6.09 ERA).

The 32-year-old right-hander doesn’t possess a great fastball anymore, with his strikeout rate 6.53 after being at least 8.16 the last five years. He got hit hard in his only meeting against the Yankees this year on July 6 (six earned over five innings).

Beckett has had some prior success pitching at Yankee Stadium, 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts last year.

The Yankees keep chugging along despite several key injuries. They lead the AL East by six games over Baltimore and are 8-2 in their last 10, 4-1 during this homestand.

Kuroda (11-8, 3.06 ERA) was a guy Boston thought about signing as a free agent from the Dodgers, but ultimately didn’t want to pay his price. He has been especially good his last six starts (1.44 ERA) with New York going 4-2.

The ‘under’ is 6-0 in those outings, including 4-0 at home where he has a 2.31 ERA for the year.

One of Kuroda’s recent losses was at home vs. Boston on July 29. He allowed two earned runs over eight innings, but was outdueled by Felix Doubront and the Red Sox bullpen in a 3-2 loss. Kuroda struggled at Fenway (six earned over 5 2/3 innings) in his other meeting vs. Boston this year (although New York still won, 10-8).

New York first baseman Mark Teixeira (wrist) missed Friday’s game and was doubtful for Saturday. The team continues to find other players to step up, with Alex Rodriguez (hand) also out, showing an overall desire and fortitude that Boston lacks.

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