Boston Red Sox pitcher Tanner Houck threw a complete game shutout Wednesday in a 2-0 victory over the Cleveland Guardians. The 27-year-old has been immensely impressive in 2024, earning a 1.35 ERA in his first four starts.

Houck’s 94-pitch gem Wednesday was so efficient that Boston and Cleveland finished the game in one hour and 49 minutes, the fastest game since Armando Gallaraga’s nearly perfect game for the Tigers in 2010. 

Following this latest quick performance, Houck earned comparisons to the ultimate strike thrower, Greg Maddux. A ‘Maddux’ is a seldom used term for a complete game thrown with less than 100 pitches. Maddux himself threw 13 such games in his career.

“I love it. It’s definitely a compliment,” Houck said after the game. “Obviously, everyone knows Maddux, what he did for the game, and how special he was. To have that terminology used is definitely fun.”

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While the Red Sox have not started the season in an overwhelmingly positive direction, staying just above .500 as they near their 20th game, Houck has been a star. Beyond one poor outing against the Angels, in which he allowed four runs on 12 hits, the starter has gone at least six innings in his other three starts without allowing a run.

Since debuting with Boston in 2020, Houck has bounced in and out of the majors while struggling to stay healthy. Since taking him with the 24th overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, the Red Sox have tried him in several roles, including as an option out of the bullpen. In every experiment, Houck has not managed to last an entire season in the majors due to poor performance or physical setbacks.

Now that Houck is pitching complete game shutouts, however, the fifth-year pro has finally earned a permanent spot in the rotation as the team looks to turn heads in the AL East division.

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