Over The Monster contributor Jacob Roy is a good guy. He’s a really talented writer, and he’s great at analyzing pitching, and he’s fun to have around the Slack channels, frequently providing good insights about the Sox or an encouraging word about someone else’s writing. He’s not the type of guy, in other words, to look at someone’s misfortunes and say
I told you s
So yeah, ok: he said I told you so.
It was just this morning when Jacob warned us that Tanner Houck’s profile just really doesn’t match up with that of a successful starting pitcher. He can miss bats and get outs, but sustained success against a lineup is a struggle with his arsenal, thanks in large part to the lack of a put-away pitch to use against lefties.
Tonight, the thing that often happens in a Tanner Houck start happened again. He cruised through the first four innings of the game, striking out some of the biggest names in the Blue Jays lineup (Vladdy, Bichette, and George Springer) but fell apart in the fifth when Dalton Varso — a lefty who’d already doubled off him — capped a 5-run inning with a homer that cleared the Red Sox bullpen.
And with that, the team with what might be the second-worst starting pitching in all of baseball so far this year (thank you, insane economic system that allows A’s ownership to exist!) found itself in a hole once again.
Ah, but thankfully the Red Sox also have one of the best offenses in the league! By the time Houck melted down, Alex Verdugo had already decided to hit a couple of doubles, because he just decides to do that these days; Christian Arroyo had put one onto Lansdowne, because he’s smack in the midst of his turnaround; and Masataka Yoshida had put one in the Red Sox bullpen, because his turnaround is now over, and he’s just damned good.
And then after Houck’s meltdown, it was time for the guy who just might be the Red Sox catcher of the future.
First he tied it up on the heels of RBI singles from Yoshida and Rob Refsnyder:
CONNOR WONG IS ON FIRE!— Tyler Milliken ⚾️ (@tylermilliken_) May 3, 2023
SOLO SHOT TO TIE THE GAME!
HIS THIRD HIT OF THE NIGHT AND HE’S A TRIPLE SHY OF THE CYCLE! pic.twitter.com/zaYzXHwyI1
And then, weary of going to extra innings on a raw, chilly night, he just decided to put the Sox back ahead:
Bear in mind that Wong had two other hits tonight: a single, and a double that was very nearly a homer itself, meaning that Wong simultaneously just missed a cycle, and just missed a three-homer game.
Clean innings from John Schreiber, Richard Bleier, and Josh Winckowski closed it out, and a night that began as the Tanner Houck Game (ugh) ended as the Connor Wong Game (hooray!)
- Connor Wong: .454 WPA, 4-4, 2 HR, 2B
- Masataka Yoshida: .107 WPA, 2-3, HR, BB
- Alex Verdugo: .037 WPA, 2-3, 2 2B
- Tanner Houck: -.357 WPA, 6 IP, 6 ER, 6 H, 3 BB, 5 K
- Rafael Devers: -.161 WPA, 0-4
- Kiké Hernandez: -.110 WPA, 0-4
Play of the Game
I’m going to guess it was the game-winning homer in the 8th, and I’m not going to bother checking to see if I’m right.
Who was the Red Sox player of the game?
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