The scene shifts to St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field Monday night at 6:07 (TV/Radio/Twitter: TBS, WEEI-FM and ESPN Radio, @redsox_101) as the American League Divisional Series between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays get ready for Game 3.
With a win, the Red Sox will sweep the series and advance to the AL Championship Series to face either the Oakland Athletics or Detroit Tigers.
Tampa sends Alex Cobb (11-3 W/L, 2.76 ERA) to the mound to try to prevent that.
Cobb won his last four starts, as Tampa held onto their Wild Card position, allowing three earned runs in 30 innings while fanning 31.
Against the Sox, on the other hand, Cobb has not pitched well—something the Rays need him to do Monday night. In four starts, Cobb lost one and had three no-decisions. Red Sox hitters drew nearly a quarter of Cobb’s walk total, drawing 10 of the 45 he threw.
If Tampa is to save their season, Cobb has to pitch as he did his last four times out. They have no room left for error.
That will be a tall order as the Red Sox counter with Clay Buchholz (12-1 W/L, 1.74 ERA).
Buchholz set the franchise-record this season in winning percentage. No one in the 114-year history of team was more successful winning their starts.
In his four starts since returning from a neck injury that sidelined him for three months, Buchholz went 3-1 and built the strength back into his arm that disappeared during his long injury.
Against Tampa, Buchholz won both of his starts and did not allow an earned run. Boston has the man they want on the mound in a situation they are happy to be in.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia is expected to catch for the Sox and Daniel Nava will play in the outfield.
How long they stay in Florida depends on tonight. A Boston win gives the Red Sox another short vacation, one they would gladly take.
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