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Red Sox Minor Lines: Tanner Houck dominates in a shortened game

Rain gets in the way again.

Pawtucket PPD

Portland W 7-0 (F/5)

Brett Netzer, 2B: 0-3, 2 K

C.J. Chatham, SS: 2-3, 1 2B, 2 R

Bobby Dalbec, 3B: 1-2, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 K, 1 E

Marcus Wilson, CF: 0-2, 1 BB, 2 K

Tanner Houck: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K (74 pitches)

It was a rainy day up in Portland, and while it was surprising they got this game in at all they did end up getting in enough of the game to make it an official one. The Sea Dogs dominated here thanks to three straight multi-run innings as well as an absolutely dominant performance from Houck. He retired the first nine batters he faced with five strikeouts in that span before a single broke up his perfect game to start the fourth. That was still the only baserunner he’d allow, though. There’s some question about what Houck’s future role will be, but performances like this give confidence that he’ll have value whether he’s in the rotation or the bullpen. In addition to Houck, it was nice to see Dalbec go yard with the slugger struggling mightily of late.

Greenville L 2-6

Tyler Esplin, CF: 0-4, 2 K

Brandon Howlett, 3B: 1-4, 2 K

Thad Ward: 5 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 4 K (83 pitches)

Logan Browning: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (9 pitches)

It was a rough one for the Drive on Monday, who were down 6-0 by the time the third inning had ended. To Greenville’s credit, they did stop the bleeding after that, but the offense never got going save for a couple of token, meaningless runs at the end. Howlett continues what’s been a disappointing year for him, and he’s now hitting .156/.235/.222. One of the few postives here was a great ninth inning for Browning, who now has a 1.74 ERA with 17 strikeouts and 2 walks in 10 13 innings.

Player of the Game: There’s no doubt here with the small slate of baseball. Tanner Houck would have almost certainly grabbed this even with a full slate. The righty was dominant against Hartford, and he needed this kind of start. He allowed seven runs in his first start of the year and even in the second when he only allowed one he did so in five innings with only three strikeouts and three walks. We’re still looking for consistency here, but Houck showed he at least has it in him to dominate in the high-minors.