Alex Cora Names Who Will Fill Red Sox’s Unique ‘Garrett Whitlock Role’

Houck has large shoes to fill


Jun 8, 2022

Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora dropped an important piece of news seemingly out of nowhere after Tuesday’s 6-5 win in 10 innings over the Los Angeles Angels.

The skipper answered a season-long question: Who will fill the incredibly important “Garrett Whitlock role” this season?

“We’re going to use (Tanner Houck) in high-leverage situations,” Cora said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “We’re trying to avoid four-inning, three-inning stints, maximum he’ll do two. Kind of like the way we used Garrett last year.

“The way he threw the ball… he’s been throwing the ball great for us and obviously, with traffic he did an outstanding job.”

Houck got the win Tuesday, he pitched the eighth and ninth innings against the Halos and allowed one double, one walk and struck out three.

Based on Cora’s comments, fans can expect to see the right-hander more frequently, as he is no longer simply coming in relief for Rich Hill on piggyback starts. Whitlock toed the rubber multiple times a week for multi-inning appearances last year. It’s likely that Houck will do that same.

While his starting pitching career is on hold, Houck will still provide plenty of — if not more — value to a surging Red Sox team that has now won six straight.

The 25-year-old pitcher will have some large shoes to fill, as Whitlock recorded a 1.96 ERA in 73 1/3 innings a season ago. It wouldn’t be right to expect the same from Houck, but he will have some pressure applied to him based on Whitlock’s past success.

The Red Sox will play the third game of their four-game series on Wednesday against the Angels. First pitch is scheduled for 9:38 p.m. ET following an hour of pregame coverage, and you can watch it all on NESN.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
Boston red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo
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