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Tanner Houck is Making Progress in Worcester

Tanner Houck
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Over the last year, Tanner Houck has become a popular name in Boston. The former first-round pick made his MLB debut in 2020 and posted a 0.53 ERA in three starts. In his first MLB stint, the 25-year-old surpassed expectations. So far in 2021, he has only made three appearances in the majors and battled injuries. Since returning from a flexor strain that forced him to miss more than a month, Houck has shown improvement in Worcester.

In four starts for the WooSox this year, Houck has posted a 4.61 ERA. In those starts, he has allowed seven runs in 13.2 innings of work. While those numbers are far off from his dominant stretch in the majors, Houck has shown signs of turning it around. In three June starts, he has his lowest ERA of any month this season.

Before going on the injured list, Houck had posted a 4.35 ERA in the majors. In his only start for Worcester, the Missouri product allowed three runs in three innings of work. In June, however, Houck has started to flash his 2020 form. The Red Sox sixth-best prospect has struck out 16 batters in 10.2 innings of work. That matches his total from his first four starts of the season.

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Additionally, Houck has only allowed six hits in that span. He has not pitched more than four innings in a start, but opponents are only hitting .158 against him. Despite allowing four earned runs, Houck has only walked one batter. As the Red Sox rotation has struggled to pitch deep into games, Houck is expected to play a key role down the stretch.

Expectations for the Rest of 2021?

While Houck is still being eased into action, his most recent start provided some welcoming signs. The Red Sox righty was able to pitch four innings for the first time since April 18th. He also did not surrender a home run or walk a batter. Against the RailRiders, Houck was able to lower his ERA from .466 to .461. Although his sample size has been small, Houck is making needed progress.

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With the All-Star break less than a month away, the Red Sox rotation could look very different. Chris Sale is nearing his return, and the Red Sox will go with a six-man rotation at some point in the second half. Houck’s play will be vital when Boston needs to give its starters a day off. Even though his last appearance in the majors came on April 18, Houck’s return could be on the horizon.


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