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Friday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Aaron Cook vs. Phil Hughes

07.27.12 at 6:41 am ET
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Aaron Cook

If the Red Sox are going to have any chance of getting back into the wild card race it’s going to have to start on the road against their rivals from New York. Aaron Cook will toe the rubber Friday night in the first game of a three-game weekend set at Yankee Stadium.

Cook began his season with the Red Sox on May 5 before heading to the DL after getting spiked in the leg in a game vs. the Orioles. He restarted his season on June 24 and despite having a solid 3.50 ERA in five starts, he hasn’t been able to secure a quality record (2-3). Cook was dominant in his second start returning from the DL when he threw a two-hit complete-game shutout vs. the Mariners on June 29 with only 81 pitches.

While Cook’s last outing did register as a quality start with 6 1/3 innings and only three earned runs, the Red Sox defense committed two errors that led to two unearned runs, eventually giving the righty a loss in a 7-3 setback vs. the Blue Jays.

Cook has only faced the Yankees once in his career, being that he had only played for the Rockies before joining the Sox. He allowed 12 hits and five earned runs over 5 2/3 innings in an 8-3 loss at Yankee Stadium on June 25 of last year. The current Yankees lineup isn’t entirely familiar with Cook, but three players have 10-plus at-bats against him. Raul Ibanez has the most success of the three, going 5-for-11 with four RBIs.

The AL East-leading Yankees will send Phil Hughes to the mound opposite Cook.

Hughes has been mediocre this season despite pitching with one of MLB’s best offenses behind him, although he’s beginning to turn it around. He’s 9-8 with a 4.09 ERA, even though he started his year with an ugly April, going 1-3 with a 7.88 ERA. Seven of his last nine starts dating back to June 3 have been of the quality variety.

The righty’s last start was solid as he went 7 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits. But the Yankees couldn’t must run support for him as they lost 2-1 in Oakland on July 21. Hughes’ ERA for July is a commendable 2.89, but he’s only 1-2.

Good news for the Red Sox is that Hughes is an ugly 2-6 with a 6.49 ERA in nine starts and 17 overall appearances vs. the Sox. He was smacked around in Boston on July 7, allowing 10 hits and five runs, three earned, over 5 1/3 innings in a 9-5 Yankees loss. Plenty of the Red Sox players have faced Hughes in their careers, but only three have more than 10 at-bats vs. him. Jacoby Ellsbury and Adrian Gonzalez have the best career numbers against him and are 4-for-9 and 4-for-8, respectively.

Red Sox vs. Hughes (RHP)

Carl Crawford (21 plate appearances): .167 BA/.286 OBP/.222 SLG, 1 double, 1 RBI, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (20): .222/.300/.444, 1 double, 1 home run, 4 RBIs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Jacoby Ellsbury (11): .444/.545/.667, 2 doubles, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Adrian Gonzalez (8): .500/.500/.625, 1 double, 1 RBI

Ryan Sweeney (7): .000/.143/.000, 1 walk

Nick Punto (5): .333/.200/.667, 1 double, 2 RBIs

Daniel Nava (4): .250/.250/.250

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (4): .250/.250/.250, 3 strikeouts

Pedro Ciriaco (3): 1.000/1.000/1.333, 1 double, 3 RBIs

Cody Ross (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 walk

Kelly Shoppach (3): .000/.000/.000, 3 strikeouts

Mike Aviles (2): .000/.000/.000

Yankees vs. Cook (RHP)

Russell Martin (21 plate appearances): .056 BA/.143 OBP/.056 SLG, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Raul Ibanez (13): .455/.462/.545, 1 double, 4 RBIs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Andruw Jones (13): .167/.231/.250, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Nick Ssisher (9): .375/.333/.875, 1 double, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 1 strikeout

Mark Teixeira (9): .250/.333/.500, 2 doubles

Hiroki Kuroda (4): .000/.250/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Ichiro Suzuki (4): .250/.250/.250

Robinson Cano (3): .000/.000/.000

Eric Chavez (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 walk

Curtis Granderson (3): .667/.667/.667, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Alex Rodriguez (3): 1.000/1.000/1.500, 1 double, 3 RBIs, 1 walk

Chris Stewart (1): 1.000/1.000/4.000, 1 home run, 2 RBIs

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