Game 146, Red Sox at Mariners

marc w · September 15, 2021 at 11:26 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Marco Gonzales vs. Tanner Houck, 1:10pm

Another day, another critical game in the M’s wild card pursuit. The matinee features the M’s opening day starter, who’s been sharp in the second half, but is coming off of a couple of mediocre starts against the toothless Diamondbacks. His re-emergence has been huge for the M’s, who have desperately needed the good version of Marco all year. His FIP is now nearly 1.4 runs above his ERA, so he’s still yielding too many walks and HRs, but it’s impressive that he’s managed to get his ERA back down to where it always seems to be – right around 4. That’s not an ace, but any semblance of dependability is very worthwhile right now.

Opposing him is Tanner Houck, a right-handed Chris Sale clone whom the Sox drafted in the first round in 2017. He struck out a few, but wildness and BABIP issues meant that his raw numbers never looked all that great in the minors. Happily for the Red Sox, he’s been much, much better in MLB, striking out a ton (29% K rate between 2020 and 2021) and getting his walks under control. He’s got Sale’s low 3/4 delivery, and thus gets the same kind of sink on his fastballs (he throws both a four-seam and sinker). He also throws a slider and splitter that’s helped him keep left handed bats honest.

He doesn’t have huge platoon splits, but clearly lefties have an advantage over righties, who are really struggling against him (despite a high BABIP). We’ve seen that the Red Sox defense is rough around the edges, so with Houck’s BABIP history and the general immovable-slugger vibe of Schwarber + Renfroe, the M’s need to put the ball in play and see what happens. The other plus is that Houck’s still not working deep into games as the Red Sox manage his innings. He’s gone 5 innings three times this year, and has lots of 3+ and 4+ IP mini-starts, so hey, even if he’s nails today, the M’s can wait it out and try their luck with the Sox bullpen.

1: Crawford, SS
2: Haniger, RF
3: Seager, 3B
4: France, 1B
5: Toro, 2B
6: Fraley, LF
7: Torrens, DH
8: Kelenic, CF
9: Murphy, C
SP: Gonzales


4 Responses to “Game 146, Red Sox at Mariners”

  1. Stevemotivateir on September 15th, 2021 5:07 pm

    Well, this is ugly.

  2. turin07 on September 15th, 2021 7:30 pm

    At the end. Otherwise tight.

  3. turin07 on September 15th, 2021 7:33 pm

    This team overperformed. “That’s why we play the games.”
    Well done brothers!!!

  4. Stevemotivateir on September 16th, 2021 6:02 am

    Well, it has still been a fun season.

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