3 awesome facts about Tanner Houck’s momentum-shifting shutout for Red Sox

Cleveland Guardians v Boston Red Sox
Cleveland Guardians v Boston Red Sox / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

Tanner Houck took the mound for the Boston Red Sox the game after a demoralizing extra-innings loss. Boston pitched through its bullpen the night before, so Houck really needed to step up.

And that he did. Houck pitched one of MLB's best performances of the year so far — he shut down the Cleveland Guardians for a complete-game shutout in under 100 pitches.

The right-hander was electric all game. He threw 69 strikeouts in his stellar showing and he burned through the Guardians' batting order. At no point did Houck seem in any danger of losing grip and he exuded confidence the whole way through his start.

Houck told WEEI postgame that he takes the mound with the intent to throw nine innings every start. He was the perfect combination of efficient and accurate to get the job done on April 17, recording the first complete-game shutout at Fenway Park since 2017 (and the first for the Red Sox since Nathan Eovaldi in the summer of 2022).

Houck's Greg Maddux-esque start made some history when the Red Sox desperately needed a boost. His 94 pitches place him in some legendary company — Houck is tied for the third-fewest pitches in a complete-game shutout with three hits or fewer, no walks, and at least nine strikeouts since pitch counting began in 1988. Roy Oswalt also threw a 94-pitch complete-game shutout in 2004 and former Red Sox Curt Schilling threw one in 93 pitches three years earlier.

3 awesome facts about Tanner Houck’s momentum-shifting shutout for Red Sox

Maddux and David Cone top the list. They both threw 88-pitch complete-game shutouts -- Maddux in 1995 and Cone in 1999 -- and Cone's was a perfect game.

Houck also achieved another Maddux-like feat against the Guardians. The 27-year-old is the first pitcher in MLB history to throw a complete-game shutout of less than 100 pitches in less than one hour and 50 minutes since Maddux did it himself on August 20, 1995. He steamrolled Cleveland's batting order in one hour and 49 minutes, which was much-needed after Boston's three-hour and 37-minute extra-innings loss the night before.

Houck stepped up and delivered a potentially series-changing outing when his team needed it most. He's been showing command, confidence and strike-throwing capabilities he's never had before in a Red Sox uniform.

Regardless of his position in Boston's rotation, the Red Sox continue to get the most out of a rag-tag group of starters after a disappointing offseason seemed to set them up for failure.

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