Ancient rivals, the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, face each other for the first time since last season.

Sportsbooks had opened with the Yankees as the -130 moneyline favorites, but early MBL betting action has already pushed that number down to -125. While this is not a regular season matchup, the history between these two teams means that we could witness one of the more competitive preseason matchups tonight.

Boston Red Sox

The 2012 edition of the Boston Red Sox are 6-2 thus far in spring training and only hope they can duplicate last year's 12-6 record against their bitter rivals, the New York Yankees. Yesterday the Sox took a 5-3 decision over the new look Miami Marlins and got a solid dinger from recently signed Pedro Ciriaco to win the game in the 10th inning for Boston. 

Imagine that Ciriaco is hitting .545 while Lars Anderson checks in at .455, Nate Spears .400 and the legendary Will Middlebrooks is making pitchers pay with a .375 average. I believe the total combined salary of those four is approximately equivalent to Kevin Youkilis's Gatorade allowance.  New manager Bobby Valentine is saying all the right things but we all know every one of those guys will be playing in a Pawtucket uniform this season no matter what they do. As for Lars Anderson, the guy is already 24 years old and the Sox are still telling him they like his potential. 

The Sox have a bad habit of "nurturing" their players until they are practically middle aged. Remember Wade Boggs? They didn't think Boggs was ready for prime time until he was 25 years old. Their 22 year old whiz kid Jose Iglesias may be able to turn triple plays all by himself but until he shows a bit more with the bat then... Look, if I've got the second coming of Ozzie Smith in the field I don't care if he imitates a statue at the plate just as long as he doesn't get hit. Take pitches and hope you walk I say but let the kid do his thing in the field and do it now, not in 2015.

New York Yankees

The New York Yankees are 5-6 in spring training and already Bombers fans are calling for manager Joe Girardi's ouster. They're a tough bunch in New York. The Pin Stripes lost yesterday to the Astros 4-3 yesterday in a game most have already forgotten. But the real story is when will Father Time realize he's lost track of two guys playing a kid's game in the Bronx? That's right Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, come on down! 

Ivan NovaApparently the Yankees will be starting Ivan Nova who is only as good as his slider allows. The kid was considered excess baggage last year until he was called up and performed admirably down the stretch for the Yankees. Nova should be a lock for one the five spots in the rotation this season but if his money pitch betrays him, he could be ticketed for the minors.

Analysis:

Felix Doubront is slated for the Red Sox and hoping to claim the 5th spot in the rotation for the Sox. Ivan Nova will breeze against Boston's collection of minor leaguers if, as stated previously, his slider is hopping. In a spring training game all bets are not off, but they should be drastically reduced because let's face it, hitters are trying new approaches and pitchers are experimenting with new pitches. It's a crapshoot but we will roll the dice and give a tepid nod to the Yankees because they are home (for whatever that's worth) and they have ostensibly the better starting pitcher. 

Yankees -118 is the play.