|Monday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: Aaron Cook vs. Alex Cobb||09.17.12 at 9:56 am ET|
Once again the last place team in the AL East, the Red Sox head to Tampa Bay and will start Aaron Cook in one of many games in which the Red Sox will look to play spoiler as they close out the season.
Cook (3-10, 5.18 ERA) enters Monday night’s game having produced two consecutive solid outings against the Yankees and Mariners. Against the New York, Cook gave up three runs over five innings, this coming one week after he gave up two runs in six innings against the Mariners. Despite the fact that Cook has limited heavy damage in his recent outings (allowing over four runs in one of his last seven appearances), none of his starts have produced a win since his one-run, seven inning performance against Texas on Aug. 6.
Although he has made three career starts against the Rays, Cook has not faced them since the 2009 season during interleague play while he was with the Rockies. In those three starts, the 33-year-old sinkerballer did not pitch well, going 1-1 with a 6.63 ERA and giving up seven home runs in 19 innings of work.
However, against the Rays lineup that he will see on Sunday, Cook has dominated. As a group against Cook, the current Tampa Bay lineup is batting just .147, a number that is made more surprising when considering Cook’s lifetime batting average against of .293. Of the seven Rays that have faced Cook, five have gone hitless, including Jeff Keppinger in 13 plate appearances. The two who have hits, though, have lit up Cook, with Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria combining for three home runs and a double in 10 plate appearances against him.
Making his second career start against the Red Sox will be one of the newer additions to the Rays rotation, 24-year-old right-hander Alex Cobb. After appearing in the Tampa Bay rotation for a few weeks last season, Cobb has become a regular starter since this May, going 9-8 with a 4.26 ERA in 20 starts.
Cobb faced the Red Sox in his second start of the season, earning the win after giving up one run over five innings pitched in a 7-4 Rays victory. The Red Sox, who notched three hits and four walks against Cobb in their first meeting, now feature just two current players who have gotten on base against him, both of them doing it just once. As a group, the Red Sox are 1-for-14 with a walk against Cobb.
Fortunately for the Red Sox, Cobb is coming off one of his worse outings so far this year against Baltimore. While Cobb was effective, giving up just two runs, he lasted 4 2/3 innings and took the loss in a 3-2 Orioles win. Cobb has been inconsistent over the last month, giving up eight runs in 2 2/3 innings on Aug. 13 before pitching a complete game shutout in his next start.
Red Sox vs. Cobb (RHP)
Mike Aviles (6 plate appearances): .000 BA/.000 OBP/.000 SLG, 1 strikeout
Dustin Pedroia (3 plate appearances): .000 BA/.000 OBP/.000 SLG
Daniel Nava (2): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout
Scott Podsednik (2): .500/.500/.500
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2): .000/.500/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Rays vs. Cook (RHP)
Jeff Keppinger (13 plate appearances): .000 BA/.077 OBP/.000 SLG, 1 walk
Carlons Pena (6): .400/.500/1.200, 1 double, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Evan Longoria (4): .500/.500/1.250, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout
B.J. Upton (4): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout
Ryan Roberts (3): .000/.000/.000
Luke Scott (3): .000/.000/.000
Ben Zobrist (3): .000/.000/.000
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