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Tanner Houck likely to claim spot in Red Sox’s starting rotation

The young pitcher will look build off what he did last season for Boston.

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Tanner Houck (89) pitches against the Houston Astros during the sixth inning in game one of the 2021 ALCS at Minute Maid Park. Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters on Sunday that Tanner Houck is all but certain to have a spot in the starting rotation this season, per Chris Cotillo.

Houck had a solid second season in the majors last year, despite a misleading record of 1-5 in 18 games (13 starts). The 25-year-old was used both as a starter and reliever last season for the BoSox. In 13 games as a starter, Houck posted a record of 0-4, 3.68 ERA, along with 73 strikeouts in 58.2 innings pitched.

However, when he came out of the bullpen, the 6-foot-5 pitcher recorded an ERA of 2.61 and 14 strikeouts in 10.1 innings pitched (five games). The Red Sox will need Houck to hold down the third spot in the rotation as they will be without Chris Sale due to injury. Nathan Eovaldi will be the ace of the staff, while Pivetta will be the No. 2 starter. Last season, Eovaldi was 11-9 with an ERA of 3.75 and named to his first All-Star Game. As for Pivetta, he had a record of 9-8 with an ERA of 4.53 and had a stretch of good outings.

But when it comes to the last two spots in the starting rotation, Cotillo says it will come down to Michael Wacha, Rich Hill, and Garrett Whitlock. Wacha and Hill could be two solid options in the back of the rotation, who can eat some innings after Houck’s starts.