Red Sox’s Tanner Houck Building Confidence As Starting Pitcher

Houck has pitched the most innings out of any Boston pitcher


May 10, 2023

Tanner Houck came into the 2023 Major League Baseball season with a clear goal, and he has impressed in his first seven starts.

The 26-year-old was determined he had what it takes to be a starter at the major league level, and Houck is one of the more reliable arms on Alex Cora’s pitching staff. He showed an ability to write off a poor start in his May 2 outing against the Toronto Blue Jays, and he’s shown he can give Boston more than five innings. Houck has pitched 37 2/3 innings, which is the most out of any Red Sox pitcher that has made seven starts.

“For me, it just shows that continuing to work, continuing to push yourself and I know everyone says but trusting the process of showing up every day, and doing the right things and putting in the small-detail work,” Houck told NESN’s Tom Caron on the “TC & Company Podcast” released Wednesday. “It really does pay off. I know it’s pretty cliché to say that, but if a lot of people are saying it, obviously there’s something to it. It goes down to having great communication with (pitching coach Dave Bush), and (bullpen coach Kevin Walker) and other guys on the pitching staff. Just continuing to better myself, looking for the opportunity to push myself and really just trusting the process. It just boils down to that.”

Nick Pivetta had a poor outing against the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday, but he and Cora assured he still has a role on the pitching staff. Garrett Whitlock is on the injured list and is expected to resume his role as a starter, and James Paxton is expected to be an arm in the rotation. Despite the moving pieces, Cora remains confident in Houck, which has served to help the right-hander elevate his goals.

“To throw 30 starts in a year, I haven’t done that before,” Houck said. “But I’m a person who wants to continue to push myself, and I kind of say, ‘Why not? Why not do this? Why not make 30 starts? Who’s to say I can’t?’ I like doing that. I like showing that I can be better than I was the start before, the hour before, the year before. And so to go out there and make seven starts, it’s just part of the journey, part of the road I got to stay on. But to have that trust from (Cora) is incredible.”

Houck’s next start is not expected until Monday against the Seattle Mariners, where he’ll hope to bounce back after suffering a loss against the Philadelphia Phillies on May 7.

Thumbnail photo via Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports Images
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