Red Sox should continue to ride the success of Tanner Houck
The Boston Red Sox have not been consistent within their starting rotation to start the 2023 season. The team ranks 27th in the league pitching with a team ERA of 5.13 allowing 138 runs in just 26 games played. Boston has recently added Brayan Bello and Garrett Whitlock to the rotation in an effort to improve the team's starting pitching. The recent roster moves have created less wiggle room for the starters leaving Alex Cora with tough decisions to make within the rotation.
With the rotation being shakey many have questioned sending Tanner Houck to the pen for more relieving strength. Looking at Houck's start to the 2023 season it feels almost as if he should remain within the starting rotation.
The 26-year-old joined the team in September of 2020, where he captured the eyes of many with a 3-0 record and a dazzling ERA of 0.53 in three games played. Houck has been silently impressive during his tenure for the Red Sox with 186 strikeouts, nine saves, and a record of 12-9.
Houck has been effective in the big leagues posting a career ERA of 3.18 and WHIP rate of 1.138 in his career where he has been able to utilize his dominating slider as a key tool within his arsenal of pitches.
Houck has been an anchor for the team this season with 24 strikeouts, a WHIP rate of 1.35, and a record of 3-1 during his 2023 campaign. Despite the noise of returning to the pen, Houck has had the 2nd best ERA of all active starters and has been the most consistent starter for the team with a 4.29 ERA.
Houck suffered his first season loss at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles in a 6-2 loss this Wednesday. Red Sox General Manager Chaim Bloom has shown interest in keeping Houck within the rotation during a recent statement with Chris Cotillo.
"“I don’t know that it pays to look too far down the line but we have thought (Houck's) very capable (in the rotation),”"- Chaim Bloom on Tanner Houck's placement
Boston has shown no long-term commitment to guaranteeing Houck's spot in the rotation, instead, the team has evaluated him as being a starter with a game-by-game approach this season. The team announced that he will be starting come next Tuesday against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Tanner Houck has been able to prove to the team why he has been one of the best pitchers for the team this season. In addition to showing the Sox why he deserves to remain a starter, Houck's supporting cast has made his case to stay within the rotation even more convincing. Considering the uncertainty of James Paxton, Kluber struggling to find command, and Sale showing inconsistency on the mound, the team should continue to ride the hot hand of Houck before deciding to move him to the bullpen.