May 25, 2024

A quick appreciation of Red Sox pitcher Tanner Houck’s 1-hour, 49-minute shutout


This is a Weird and Wild short. Read this week’s full column here.

It used to be that when you spent your $287 for a bleacher ticket at Fenway Park, at least you could count on getting like 492 pitches and three hours and 51 minutes worth of “action” for your money.

Boy, those were the days. Where are Kevin Youkilis and Daisuke Matsuzaka when you need them, anyway? (Did you know Dice-K once started a 2007 game at Fenway against the Yankees in which the average inning lasted over 31 minutes? True story!)

But that was then. Tanner Houck is now. And on Wednesday at Fenway, the Red Sox’s 27-year-old starting pitcher did something against the Guardians we’re still trying to fully absorb:

He spun an entire nine-inning shutout in an hour and 49 minutes.

Heck, you’re lucky to get from Fenway to the airport in an hour and 49 minutes. You’re lucky to get to the front of the line at the “chowda” stand in an hour and 49 minutes.

“When I was there,” former Red Sox managerial quipster Terry Francona told Weird and Wild on Thursday, “we couldn’t even do the introductions in an hour and 49.”

But Houck pitched an entire game in an hour and 49 minutes. And that, gang, is what’s known in my house as Weird and Wild material.

EVERY FENWAY SHUTOUT OF 1:49 OR SHORTER, PAST 70 YEARS

PITCHER DATE TIME

Tanner Houck 

Wednesday

1:49

Bill Lee

5/24/75 

1:48

Ray Culp

5/2/71

1:49

Ray Culp 

9/13/68 

1:40

Mel Parnell   

7/14/56

1:42

(That’s all, folks!)

(Source: Baseball Reference / Stathead)

Now here’s what that means …

NEVER PLAYED IN ANY FENWAY GAME THAT SHORT*

David Ortiz
Manny Ramirez
Dustin Pedroia
Wade Boggs
Mookie Betts
Jerry Remy (as a player or broadcaster)

(*nine innings or more)

NEVER PITCHED IN ANY FENWAY GAME THAT SHORT

Pedro Martinez
Roger Clemens
Luis Tiant
Jim Lonborg
Bill Monbouquette

NEVER MANAGED ONE OF THOSE

Terry Francona
Joe Morgan
John Farrell
John McNamara
Don Zimmer

OH, AND ONE MORE THING!

You know that Dice-K start I mentioned earlier? At 31 minutes and 25 seconds per inning, his game in 2007 would have been in the bottom of the fourth when that game Wednesday night ended. More chowdah, anybody?

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Inside Red Sox starter Tanner Houck’s masterful shutout

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(Photo of Tanner Houck: Billie Weiss / Boston Red Sox / Getty Images)





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