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Red Sox play MLB’s shortest game since 2010 as Tanner Houck throws 94-pitch gem vs. Guardians

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On Wednesday, the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Guardians played Major League Baseball’s shortest game in nearly 14 years, according to MLB.com’s Sarah Langs. The Red Sox and Guardians clocked in at one hour and 49 minutes thanks to a masterful performance from Boston righty Tanner Houck. The only quicker game in recent memory occurred on June 2, 2010 when Detroit Tigers right-hander Armando Galarraga recorded what should have been a perfect game against — who else? — these Guardians. 

Galarraga, for those who don’t remember, was an out away from said perfect game. Unfortunately, a blown call at first cost him that honor. 

Houck, 27, served as a buzzsaw on Wednesday night. He surrendered three hits and no walks across nine innings. He struck out nine batters and did it on just 94 pitches. That serves as the fewest pitches thrown by a Red Sox hurler in a nine-inning shutout since Aaron Cook required only 81 back in June 2012.

Houck entered Wednesday with a 2.04 ERA (211 ERA+) and a 9.50 strikeout-to-walk ratio over his first three starts. The Red Sox will need Houck to remain strong heading forward: they’re now without Lucas Giolito, Nick Pivetta, and Garrett Whitlock due to injury.

MLB has taken steps to shorten the length of games in recent years. Last season saw the introduction of the pitch clock. This year saw a reduction in clock time. The average nine-inning game lasted two hours and 39 minutes in 2023; that average had dropped a full minute, to two hours and 38 minutes entering Wednesday, according to Baseball-Reference.

It is, perhaps, worth noting that a greater percentage of games had lasted fewer than two hours and 30 minutes: 34.7% entering Wednesday, as opposed to last year’s mark of 30.5%. That percentage had reliably been under 5% over the previous seasons leading into the pitch clock’s installation. 

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