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Wednesday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Aaron Cook vs. David Phelps

09.12.12 at 9:04 am ET
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Aaron Cook

The Red Sox will try to build off of the momentum of Tuesday night’s walk-off victory as they send Aaron Cook to the mound in an effort to play spoiler to the Yankees’ playoff hopes.

Cook (3-9, 5.17 ERA) has a limited history against the Yankees, having only two starts against them under his belt heading into Wednesday night’s game. That small sample size, though, paints a very clear picture of how Cook has pitched against New York — and it’s not pretty.

Cook’s most recent outing against the Yankees came early this season on July 27. New York racked up six runs, including two home runs, before knocking him out of the game after four innings. That outing was not much better than the first matchup in 2011, when Cook allowed five earned runs over 5 2/3 innings, giving up 12 hits in the process. Overall, Cook is 0-2 with a 10.34 ERA against New York.

While the 12 hits that Cook gave up in that 2011 start may seem high, that type of hitting against him is nothing new. Cook, whose .294 batting average against this season is .010 higher than any other Red Sox starter, has been in line with his .294 career mark and actually has shown a marked improvement over his 2011 numbers. It’s part of the package that comes with being a sinkerballer. While with the Rockies last season, he posted a batting average against of .326, a mark that would have come in third for the NL batting crown that year. Meanwhile, the lineup that Cook will see Wednesday night is batting .321 against him.

Cook’s time with the Rockies will play a vital role in Wednesday’s matchups. Each current Yankee that Cook has faced at least 10 times saw additional appearances from him when they were in the National League. Raul Ibanez and Casey McGehee have rocked Cook in the past, posting OPS totals of 1.367 and .962 against him, respectively. On the other hand, Russell Martin, Andruw Jones and Mark Teixeira are batting under .225 against him.

Taking the mound opposite Cook will be 25-year-old rookie David Phelps, who appears to be finishing up his tenure in the Yankees starting rotation, as Ivan Nova and Andy Pettitte get set to return from injury. Phelps, who has bounced back and forth between the rotation and bullpen in his first major league season, faced the Red Sox twice as a reliever before making his first start against them on Aug. 18.

During his transition from a bullpen role to being a starter, Phelps appears to have revealed a big hole in his game: an inability to go deep into outings. In eight starts this season, Phelps failed to pitch five full innings five times and pitched six-plus innings twice. Phelps has yet to throw 100 pitches in a game this season and has thrown over 90 pitches on just two occasions. Longevity was a significant issue in Phelps’ most recent start, arguably his worst of the season. In a 10-6 to the Orioles, Phelps lasted four innings and gave up five runs, throwing 73 pitches in the process.

Coincidentally, Phelps’ last start against the Red Sox was the deepest he’d gone into a game all season. Phelps gave up three runs over 6 2/3 innings on 95 pitches, taking the loss in a 4-1 Sox victory.

Yankees vs. Cook (RHP)

Russell Martin (23 plate appearances): .100 BA/.174 OBP/.250 SLG, 1 home run, 3 RBIs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Raul Ibanez (15) .500/.533/.833, 1 double, 1 home run, 6 RBIs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Andruw Jones (15): .143/.200/.214, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts

Casey McGehee (12): .455/.417/.545, 1 double, 2 RBIs

Mark Teixeira (11): .222/.273/.444, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs

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

Curtis Granderson (6): .667/.667/.833, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Ichiro Suzuki (6): .333/.333/.333

Robinson Cano (5): .200/.200/.200

Eric Chavez (5): .000/.200/.000, 1 walk

Francisco Cervelli (3): .667/.667/.667

Chris Dickerson (3): .500/.667/1.000, 1 double, 1 walk

Derek Jeter (3): .333/.333/.333

Eduardo Nunez (3): .333/.333/.333

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

Red Sox vs. Phelps (RHP)

Dustin Pedroia (6 plate appearances): .167 BA/.167 OBP/.167 SLG

Cody Ross (6): .167/.167/.667, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 5 strikeouts

Pedro Ciriaco (4): .750/.750/.750

Mike Aviles (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Jacoby Ellsbury (3): .000/.000/.000

Ryan Lavarnway (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout

Scott Podsednik (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2): 1.000/1.000/1.500, 1 double

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