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Monday, 07 October 2013 16:41

ALDS Game 3 Preview: Boston Red Sox Look To Sweep The Tampa Bay Rays

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As the American League Divisional Series shift venues to Tampa Bay, the Boston Red Sox have a three game sweep in their crosshairs. After taking the first two games of the best of 5 series on Friday and Saturday, Boston will send Clay Buchholz to the mound and the Rays will counter with Alex Cobb. Despite having an injury plagued campaign, Buchholz faced the Rays twice during the regular season and enjoyed a lot of success. While it was just two games, the 28 year old tossed 13 innings and didn’t allow a run while walking just 5 and striking out 17. Since Buccholz early September return from the disabled list, he has compiled a 3 and 1 record over 24 innings pitched and holding batters to a .217/.286/.301 slash line. Although Buchholz has pitched particularly well regardless the venue, in 7 road starts the right hander has posted a 1.40 ERA in 45 innings pitched. Opposite of Buchholz the Rays will send out the 26 year old right hander, Alex Cobb. Nothing about this win-or-go-home start should be new to Cobb. After all, his last start came in the American League Wild Card game where Cobb threw 6.2 innings of shutout baseball, allowing just one walk and striking out 5. Against the Red Sox this season Cobb has started 4 games this year and only has a 0-1 record. However, after examining his starts against Boston this season, his record seems indicative of how he’s pitched. Over 22.2 innings, Cobb averaged over a hit per frame and allowed 13 earned runs despite not allowing just one home run. However, Cobb did enjoy a nice September in preparation for the playoffs. Over 5 starts Cobb held batters to a .226/.276/.339 slash while walking just 9 and striking out 35. While it’s no secret that the Red Sox would like to end this series tonight, all the pressure lies on the Rays. Through the first two games of this Divisional Series, Boston’s offense has been explosive; scoring 19 runs on 25 hits against Tampa Bays top two arms. Therefore it seems like slowing the roll the Red Sox are on will be a very tall task for Alex Cobb to handle. While nothing in sports is over until it’s officially over, the Rays will need to be the first team since the 2003 Boston Red Sox to come back from an 0-2 ALDS deficit. Not to get ahead of ourselves but if the first two games are an indication of how game 3 will go, this series is over.