Red Sox vs. Orioles observations: Tanner Houck deserved better after strong outing

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Nick Goss
·3 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Tanner Houck deserved better in strong outing for Red Sox originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Red Sox do not look like a good team through the first two games of the 2021 MLB season.

The Red Sox had a great opportunity to bank some early wins with a three-game series against a bad Baltimore Orioles squad at Fenway Park. Instead of taking advantage of the situation, the Sox are 0-2 thanks to a struggling offense and lackluster defense.

Saturday afternoon's 4-2 defeat highlighted both of those issues.

Let's take a look at three observations from the Red Sox' second loss of the season.

Tanner Houck deserved better

The Red Sox sent Tanner Houck to the mound and he pitched well enough to win, but he ended up taking the loss as the Sox offense struggled to give him much run support.

Houck pitched five innings and gave up two earned runs and six hits. He also struck out eight batters and walked only one. The movement on some of his pitches was pretty impressive:

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

"He did a good job," Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters after the game. "He was good -- velocity was up, movement on the pitches. He did an outstanding job. A good fastball was up in the zone. He controlled his emotions. He did an amazing job for us."

Houck went 3-0 with a 0.53 ERA in three starts last season. He's shown some real potential over the last year, and now the goal for him is pitching at this level on a consistent basis.

Lack of offense becoming a concern

Offense was supposed to be a strength of this Red Sox team, but through two games it has been anything but a positive. 

"We had some good at-bats today," Cora said. "We put on some good swings. This part of the season gets magnified. Obviously, we can be better. We feel we're better."

The top of the order was particularly ineffective. Kiké Hernandez went 0-for-4 in the leadoff spot and Alex Verdugo went 0-for-4 batting second. Verdugo is hitless in eight at-bats through two games. Rafael Devers and Franchy Cordero went 0-for-4, too. First baseman Bobby Dalbec is 0-for-6 with four strikeouts in two games.

The Red Sox don't have an elite pitching staff and need to score a lot of runs to have a chance to compete in the American League East. It's still very early in the season and April weather in Boston isn't ideal for hitting, but the Sox have to be much better at the plate to avoid falling into an early hole in the standings.

Defense must be better

The Red Sox have not played good defense through two games and it's been a major factor in both losses.

"I think defensively over the two games we haven't been sharp," Cora said. "We've made some bad decisions. We didn't make enough plays. For us, it's very important to play defense. The teams that play good defense, they win ballgames. The first few games we haven't done that."

The most egregious defensive miscue came in the fourth inning when third baseman Rafael Devers overthrew second base after diving for a ground ball.

The error allowed Rio Ruiz to advance to third, and in the next at-bat a passed ball allowed Austin Hays to reach second. With runners on second and third, Maikel Franco hit a two-RBI single to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead. All of this happened with two outs.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

The Red Sox cannot afford to be giving opponents extra opportunities, especially when their own offense is struggling to score runs.