Red Sox Breaking News: Michael Wacha scratched, Tanner Houck to start
Michael Wacha is out, and Tanner Houck is in for Red Sox today
In a surprise to those of us who were preparing to see Michael Wacha take the hill against the Chicago White Sox in today’s series finale, the righty won’t be pitching. Just moments ago, it was reported that Wacha won’t be making his scheduled start for the Red Sox today and Tanner Houck will be on the bump instead.
The right-hander seems to be suffering from some soreness in his left side and the Red Sox are taking precautions to ensure it doesn’t become an actual injury. Wacha has been one of Boston’s best pitchers through the first month of the season and losing him in a must-win game is not good. Yeah, I said must-win, because it is. He’s been phenomenal for the team this season and has shown the capability to give the team a great chance at a win.
Other than a few names in the lineup, the Red Sox starters have been the only real thing to look forward to with this team in 2022. They may not always have the sharpest stuff each night but to say they haven’t held up their end of the bargain would be a lie. More often than not the rotation has done its job in giving the team plenty of room to win and it’s the other facets of the roster letting them down.
As I mentioned, Houck will be getting the call to fill in for Wacha and will be returning to the rotation for the first time since the end of April. Tanner wasn’t able to travel with the team to Toronto and Alex Cora had to shuffle his starters in order to accommodate his absence.
Since then Houck has been in the bullpen where things haven’t quite gone in his favor. While the big debate has been whether or not he and Garrett Whitlock should swap roles, the numbers don’t support it.
Whitlock was amazing in two of his first three starts while Houck has been a nightmare in relief. The master of the slider came out of the bullpen the other day and was quickly tuned up for seven earned runs, ballooning his ERA to a 5.14.
On the other side of the coin, he’s given the Red Sox quality starts since the beginning of the season and seems to flourish better in that scenario. I personally would like to have him back in the rotation while Whitlock heads back to become our closer, but I know that’s not a popular decision for some.
Back to the matter at hand today as losing Wacha may not seem like much on the surface but it may be costly. He’s been incredibly consistent through his first five starts of the year and is easily the most reliable starter we have right now behind Nathan Eovaldi. Wacha’s 1.38 ERA and 0.923 WHIP have made him a serious threat to the opposition and we can’t afford to not have him throwing while he’s dialed in like this.
I hope having Houck back in the rotation will bring him back to the pitcher we’ve seen him be in the past. Granted, getting only an hour or so to prepare isn’t much of a heads-up but actually knowing what his role is for today could allow him to get to a focused mindset. The Red Sox need everyone to fire on all cylinders today to salvage a win from an otherwise miserable series against the White Sox. There’s a lot of work to be done to get the ship back on course and maybe this last-minute shake-up can light a fire under them.