Red Sox split first home series of 2022 with the Twins
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Game Two Thoughts: Red Sox 4, Twins 0
- Both the Red Sox and Tanner Houck needed a start like that. After a shaky performance in New York, Houck dominated the Twins over 5 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out four and allowing just two hits. Walks are always going to be a part of Houck’s game, but when he keeps the ball on the ground as he did in this one (six ground ball outs, two ground ball double plays), it’s very hard for the opponent to string a rally together.
- A key difference in this start from Houck’s first outing was his usage of the splitter. After throwing his third pitch just once against the Yankees, Houck threw it thirteen times on Wednesday. The results were mixed, as only 6 of those pitches were thrown for strikes, but he froze Trevor Larnach on one for strike three in the second inning. Houck doesn’t need to throw his splitter as much as his fastball or slider, but if he can mix it in to give lefties another look, he can be very effective
- The early returns on the Trevor Story, at least defensively, are promising. Bogaerts and Story turned a beautiful double play in the fifth in which Bogaerts made a diving stop on a ground ball up the middle and glove-flipped it to Story, who bare-handed it and made a strong throw to first to get Gio Urshela. Obviously one great play doesn’t make a season, but the infield defense looks to be much improved so far in 2022
- Speaking of Bogaerts, he finally got on the board with his first home run of the season, and it was an impressive one. The pitch was a couple of inches off the plate, but he pulled his hands in and sent a no-doubter over the Green Monster. Hopefully that is the first step to him breaking out of his slump
- What else is there to say about Garrett Whitlock? The machine threw 2 1/3 more scoreless innings, allowing just three baserunners and striking out five. His slider has been even more unhittable this year despite it losing two miles per hour in velocity, inducing whiffs at an incredible 72.2% rate.