Tanner Houck can do some things with a baseball that leave you simply asking, “How?”
The Red Sox starter was a tough-luck loser Thursday afternoon at Fenway Park in the series finale with the Toronto Blue Jays. The right-hander went five innings and allowed two runs on three hits while striking out four but ultimately was outdueled by the masterful Kevin Gausman.
Houck’s start wasn’t without highlights, though. More specifically, he threw one slider that moved in a way most humans couldn’t make a Wiffle ball move.
Here’s what it looked like from behind Houck:
Houck’s slider is a legitimate weapon for the 25-year-old. Just nine pitchers have thrown more sliders this season than Houck, who now has used the pitch 77 times this season. According to Baseball Savant, Houck’s slider moves horizontally on an average of 12.7 inches. Only Shohei Ohtani’s slider moves more side to side among pitchers who have thrown 60 or more sliders this season, and Houck’s horizontal movement is nearly 6 inches more than the average slider.