Tanner Houck Belongs in the Red Sox Rotation

Tanner Houck
Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Tanner Houck has had an overall good season as starting pitcher for the Red Sox. Even though the Red Sox lost in his start last night against the Angels, there were more good signs than bad for Houck’s role. And with recent discussion among who belongs in the rotation and who moves to the bullpen, Houck has proven his spot as a starter.

In last night’s loss against the Angels, Houck went six innings giving up only three hits and one earned run off a sac-grounder to first. Houck also limited baserunners by only allowing two walks and recorded eight strikeouts. The Red Sox ultimately lost the game due to a home run from Mickey Moniak off Kutter Crawford, who was the losing pitcher.

Tweet via @PitchingNinja

Tanner Houck’s main concern as a starter is his inability to face a lineup for a third time. In 2023, Houck has a 14.46 ERA with opponents holding a .885 OPS against him when facing the lineup for a third time. He currently sits at a 4.99 ERA overall on the year, which is surely inflated by this factor.

While the ERA is up due to Tanner’s struggles with the order for a third time, his numbers are still showing an upside. Houck currently carries a 3.84 FIP with an BABIP of .289 and 8.51 K/9 over nine starts. In a rotation where the effectiveness has been subpar from almost everyone, these numbers will play. 

Tanner Houck Gathered Positive Support for Alex Cora

After the loss last night, Red Sox manager, Alex Cora, had nothing but positive things to say about Tanner Houck. In an interview with NESN’s Gio Rivera, Cora went on to say, “…he’s one of the best we have. And we talked about it in spring training. He’s gonna pitch a lot of innings.” Houcks’s numbers certainly reflect this praise, and it also confirms Cora’s trust in the righty pitcher in the rotation.

After the return of James Paxton and the looming return of Garrett Whitlock, there will be moves to make regarding the rotation and bullpen. We have already seen Nick Pivetta change roles as he will be working as a reliever for the foreseeable future. And with Corey Kluber’s future still unsure after his abysmal start in San Diego, it adds yet another question mark.

The rotation is already looking improved compared to the beginning of the year. Chris Sale is returning to form and Brayan Bello is looking sharper by the day. James Paxton is surpassing everyone’s expectations and has been excellent in his first two starts. If Houck is able to deliver as he was last night, there is no reason he should not remain in the rotation.

The Red Sox will face off in the second game of the series tonight against the Angels. The game can be watched on NESN at 9:38pm EST.

Follow @Matt__Irish on Twitter for more Baseball News.

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