Had there been fans allowed to watch the players play in the otherwise empty confines of Fenway Park last September the 20th, the atmosphere would have been electric.
At the tail end of an otherwise bizarre, lost 2020 baseball season in Boston, here was Tanner Houck – the first-round pick by the Red Sox in the 2017 draft – making quick and easy work of the playoff-bound New York Yankees in just his second major league start.
In his three September starts as a rookie last season, Houck was a revelation. His performance left Red Sox fans eager to see much more of the six-foot-three hurler with the sleeve tattoo rising up from the glove on his left hand.
Houck’s numbers are well-circulated by now. In his MLB debut, he submitted five shutout innings in Miami, followed by six more scoreless innings against the Yankees, capped off by allowing just one run over six innings in Atlanta. In those 17 innings, he racked up 21 strikeouts.