Monday's Red Sox-Rays ALDS matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Alex Cobb

October 07, 2013 - 7:27 am

The Red Sox will have the chance to advance to the ALCS for the first time since 2008 on Monday night, as starting pitcher Clay Buchholz and the Sox will take on the Rays and pitcher Alex Cobb in Game 3 of the ALDS at Tropicana Field. Boston has been dominant in the best-of-five series, outscoring Tampa Bay 19-6 over the first two games. The Sox offense in particular has been spectacular, hitting a combined .352. Despite being the third starter in Boston's postseason rotation, Buchholz (12-1, 1.74 ERA) has been one of the best starters in all of baseball this season. That is, when he's healthy. Buchholz seemed like the early favorite for the AL Cy Young Award during the first few months of the season, as the right-hander was 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA in early June. Unfortunately for Buchholz, he would not make another start for over two months, as the Texas native was shut down and placed on the disabled list due to neck/shoulder issues on June 19. Activated off the DL on Sept. 10, Buchholz impressed many by showing few signs of rust during the final stretch of the season, finishing his last four starts of the season with a 3-1 record and a 1.88 ERA. Buchholz was solid in his final start of the year against Baltimore on Sept. 27, holding the O's to three runs over seven innings while walking zero batters in what was an eventual 12-3 Boston win. "It's a good steppingstone," Buchholz said after the game. "I'm just glad the team could score all those runs. There wasn't a whole lot of stress in the outing today." Buchholz has had success against the Rays in the past, as he boasts a record of 7-5 with a 2.41 ERA in 16 career starts. A Boston native, Cobb (11-3, 2.76 ERA) will be given the difficult task of shutting down a potent Red Sox lineup and extending the Rays' playoff hopes for one more game. Cobb already has stepped up big for Tampa so far this postseason, as the 25-year-old righty held the Indians scoreless through 6 2/3 innings Wednesday night in the wild card playoff, a 4-0 Rays victory. Cobb has had a solid albeit unspectacular track record against Boston in his career, as he possesses a 2-2 record with a 4.19 ERA in seven career starts. Red Sox vs. Cobb (RHP) Dustin Pedroia (20 plate appearances): .278 BA/.350 OBP/.278 SLG, 5 singles, 2 RBIs Daniel Nava (15): .286/.333/.357, 1 double, 3 RBIs Stephen Drew (14): .250/.357/.333, 1 double, 5 RBIs Jarrod Saltalamacchia (14): .200/.429/.300, 1 double, 4 walks Jacoby Ellsbury (13): .231/.231/.462, 1 home run, 2 RBIs Shane Victorino (13): .364/.462/.636, 3 doubles, 2 walks Mike Napoli (12): .333/.500/.556, 2 doubles, 4 RBIs David Ortiz (11): .167/.545/.167, 5 walks, 1 RBI Will Middlebrooks (10): .222/.300/.222, 2 singles, 1 RBI Mike Carp (5): .400/.400/.400, 2 singles, 3 RBIs Quintin Berry (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 walk David Ross (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout Xander Bogaerts and Jonny Gomes have not faced Cobb. Rays vs. Buchholz (RHP) Ben Zobrist (42 plate appearances): .111 BA/.238 OPB/.139 SLG, 1 double, 6 strikeouts Evan Longoria (38): .206/.289/.294, 3 doubles, 13 strikeouts Matthew Joyce (27): .273/.370/.318, 1 double, 6 strikeouts Jose Molina (24): .318/.333/.364, 1 double, 4 strikeouts Yunel Escobar (21): .188/.350/.375, 1 home run, 4 walks Desmond Jennings (20): .235/.278/.294, 1 double, 3 strikeouts David DeJesus (14): .364/.500/.455, 1 double, 3 walks Kelly Johnson (14): .100/.308/.100, 1 single, 5 walks Sean Rodriguez (12): .300/.273/.400, 1 double, 1 RBI Delmon Young (9): .111/.111/.111, 1 single, 2 RBIs James Loney (8): .167/.375/.167, 1 single, 2 walks Sam Fuld (5): .250/.400/.500, 1 double, 1 RBI Jose Lobaton and Wil Myers have not faced Buchholz.