Young righty Alex Cobb goes for a second straight gem to start the season on Friday night when the Tampa Bay Rays visit Fenway Park to meet their American League East Division rivals, the Boston Red Sox, for the first of three weekend games.
Cobb won 11 of 20 decisions in 23 starts in his initial full-fledged major- league stint in 2012, posting a 4.03 earned run average and allowing a .254 opposition batting average across 136 1/3 innings.
He'd gotten a brief taste of the majors toward the tail end of 2011, when he won three of five decisions in nine starts and pitched 52 2/3 innings.
Cobb opened 2013 with a 7 1/3-inning stint against Cleveland on April 6 and emerged with a 6-0 defeat of the Indians after allowing four hits, no runs and striking out six.
He's 2-1 in three career starts against the Red Sox.
Venezuelan lefty Felix Doubront starts for Boston and makes a second try at a first win of the season after he won 11 times last year.
The 25-year-old entered last season with just two wins in 23 big-league appearances before going 11-10 in 29 starts with a 4.86 ERA in 161 innings of work.
He pitched five innings in a no-decision at Toronto in his first outing of 2013 on April 5 in a game the Red Sox won, 6-4.
Doubront is 6-6 in 27 career appearances at Fenway with a 5.16 ERA, more than half a run higher than his road ERA of 4.58.
On Thursday in Boston, the Red Sox lost the rubber match of their three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles, falling, 3-2. Mike Napoli and Dustin Pedroia each drove in a run for Boston, which was trying to start a season with three straight series wins for the first time since 1952.
Tampa, meanwhile, won in Texas on Wednesday, as Matt Moore pitched 5 1/3 innings of one-hit shutout baseball to help the Rays past the Rangers, 2-0.
Moore (2-0) walked six batters but registered five strikeouts in his outing. Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth to earn his first save of the season.
Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist had an RBI apiece for the Rays, who avoided a three-game sweep against Texas.
"It was the kind of game you got to win," said Rays manager Joe Maddon. "Having lost two in a row here, some tough moments here also, it just shows the resiliency of our group and the fact that these guys do not give in."
The teams split an 18-game series in 2012, a year after the Rays won 12 of 18 games. The Red Sox haven't won the season series since 2007.