Tanner Houck Emerging as Vital Piece for Bostonby Jamie Gatlin October 10, 2021 0 comments
Over the last two years, Tanner Houck has been key to the Boston Red Sox’s success. The former first-round pick has appeared in 21 games and posted a 2.93 ERA. While Houck pitched out of both the bullpen and rotation, he has excelled regardless of the role.
On Friday night, he continued to play a vital role when needed the most.
After Chris Sale gave up five runs in one inning of work, the Red Sox turned to Houck. The 25-year-old was brilliant as he allowed one run over five innings of work. While Houck kept Tampa Bay’s offense in check, the Boston offense found its rhythm and scored six unanswered runs. With the series appearing to be slipping away, Houck gave Boston a chance to win.
As the Red Sox lefty kept Tampa Bay guessing, he joined exclusive company. Before Houck allowed a single to Wander Franco in the fifth, he had retired 30 straight batters dating back to the regular season. He became only the fifth player in Red Sox history to retire 27 batters in a row during a single season. The last player in franchise history to retire 30 was Koji Uehara, who retired 37 batters from Aug. 17 to Sept. 13, 2013.
Tanner Houck is a finalist for the PitchingNinja Slider of the Year Award. pic.twitter.com/bKaTeJ3LEQ
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 9, 2021
While the Red Sox’s playoff run has only just begun, Houck has virtually been lights out. Through six innings of work this postseason, he has posted a 1.50 ERA. The Missouri product has struck out seven batters and only allowed two hits. In that span, he has held opponents to a .100 batting average while surrendering one home run. Along with Garrett Whitlock, the Red Sox’s young duo has been impressive out of the bullpen.
How important Houck is to the Red Sox’s success
For the Red Sox to make a championship run, they will need Houck at his best. Over the last two weeks, he has elevated his game despite the increase in pressure. When asked about Houck’s performance, manager Alex Cora said, “Great decision taking him [out] in the perfect game, right, so we can use him later? He has been amazing. He has been amazing.”
Although Houck has battled injuries this year, he has rebounded from a rough September. The former 24th overall pick posted a 4.76 ERA in the regular season’s final month and allowed 12 earned runs. In his first taste of postseason baseball, however, he has flashed his rookie form. For a pitching staff in need of a boost, Houck has been an invaluable arm.
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