Brandon Workman

Thursday's Red Sox-Pirates matchups: Brandon Workman vs. Gerrit Cole

September 18, 2014 - 4:20 am

The Red Sox will close out their series with the Pirates at PNC Park on Thursday night. Brandon Workman will pitch against another young right-hander in Gerrit Cole. Since moving to the rotation in the middle of this year, Workman (1-9, 5.27 ERA) has not had as much success as he did in the bullpen. Last Wednesday against the Orioles, he lasted just three innings, allowing five runs on six hits during his ninth loss of the season. It was the second start in three tries when he did not make it past the fourth inning, as he was charged for seven runs in just 3 1/3 innings against the Mariners on Aug. 23. Workman has earned a win in 10 straight starts. "I have to do a better job of limiting damage," Workman said after his start against the Orioles. "Seems like lately, it's been one inning that's gotten me. In Seattle, at New York, or today, it's one inning that all my runs have come in." In six appearances over the last two months, Workman is 0-5 with an ERA over eight. And since the All-Star break, he has a 1.75 WHIP and a .309 batting average against. Compare that to a 1.18 WHIP and .225 batting average against him in the first half of the season. By the second time hitters face Workman in a game, they seem to get a good judge of what the right-hander is featuring. Batters have compiled a .308 batting average and .879 OPS during a second appearance vs. Workman. On the road this season, the 26-year-old has found some success, though. He has put together a 4.54 ERA at visiting parks -- over one run lower than it is at home. The young Cole (9-5, 3.92 ERA) is one of the reasons the Pirates are vying for their second consecutive National League wild card bid. In his previous outing last Friday against the Cubs at home, Cole allowed three runs in six innings to earn the win over Chicago. This came after a start in which he was also charged for three runs over six frames vs. the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Sept. 7. "I think games definitely become more intense at this time," Cole said of his last start. "But it's just as easy to get too caught up in that. It's still about making pitches." Cole had a poor start to September when he allowed five runs on eight hits against the Cardinals on Sept 1. But other than that rough outing, he's dominated September the last two seasons. A 2-1 record this year follows a season where the 24-year-old 4-0 record and 1.69 ERA in five starts. In two outings against American League opponents this season -- both from the American League East -- Cole has a 1-0 record with a 5.73 ERA in 11 innings pitched. The better of the two starts came against the Yankees when he threw six innings, allowed three runs and struck out eight. The 2011 first-overall pick in the MLB draft has spent two stints on the disabled list this season because of shoulder problems. He missed about three weeks in June and did not pitch from July 4 until Aug. 20 due to the lingering injury. Cole has never pitched against the Red Sox in his career. Red Sox vs. Cole (RHP) No Red Sox batters have faced Cole. Pirates vs. Workman (RHP) No Pirates batters have faced Workman.