Tanner Houck’s sterling start propels Red Sox to franchise pitching record

Boston Red Sox v Los Angeles Angels
Boston Red Sox v Los Angeles Angels / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages

It's no secret that the Boston Red Sox's pitching staff has gotten off to a better start than many people anticipated. After two times through the rotation, Boston is still sticking it to the doubters.

Tanner Houck posted a scoreless outing against the Angels on April 7 and he's the last Red Sox starter standing without a run, earned or unearned, in his stat line. There have been some close calls, but Houck has always recovered and he's been lights out on the mound so far.

Houck's increased ability to throw strikes is paying dividends for Boston. He tossed six shutout innings in Anaheim and he fanned seven Angels in the process. The righty allowed four hits, two walks and hit a batter, but nothing ever came of them.

Houck threw 10 strikeouts in his last start for the Sox and he's charged his way onto the strikeout leaderboard early in the year. He's tied with Pittsburgh's Jared Jones with 17 K's on the season, the fourth-most in the league.

Tanner Houck and the Red Sox pitching staff have set a franchise record on their unexpected tear

The 27-year-old's second start helped place the Red Sox in the history books for an obscure early-season metric. Boston still leads the majors with the lowest ERA which sits at 1.49 and it's the Sox's lowest ERA through the first 10 games of a season in franchise history.

Boston's 1.49 ERA is also the lowest for any MLB team through 10 games since the 2005 Marlins posted a 1.34 to start their slate. The Red Sox's current ERA is the lowest of any American League team through the first 10 games of a season since 1982 when the Angels logged a 1.31.

Boston's bullpen also deserves some credit for its outstanding start. Chase Anderson posted his second-consecutive three-inning relief appearance on April 7. He let up a two-run homer to Mike Trout, but the Sox had such a huge lead it didn't matter in the end. Greg Weissert, Justin Slaten and Josh Winckowski still have zero ERAs after 4.2, 5.2 and five innings pitched, respectively. Chris Martin has let up one run in five innings, ending his scoreless appearance streak, but he recovered nicely and limited the damage by sitting down the following two batters.

The Red Sox's pitching staff and new pitching coach Andrew Bailey are deserving of all the fanfare they've received at the start of the 2024 campaign. Boston has done a good job limiting contact and it's thrown a lot of strikes over the start of the season, so a prolonged return to hitter-friendly Fenway Park may not impact the Sox's success on the mound.

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