MLB Insider Notes A Potential Playoff Problem For The Red Sox

Tanner Houck #89 of the Boston Red Sox pitches during the ninth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Fenway Park on June 19, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won 6-4.
(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)


It’s probably way too early to start examining playoff matchups in MLB.

June hasn’t even ended, after all.

But it’s always fun to project future scenarios, isn’t it?

In this particular case, the Boston Red Sox would face the Toronto Blue Jays if the season ended today.

That would be quite the playoff series.

The Blue Jays are 42-32, owners of the third-best record in the American League.

The Red Sox, however, are not far behind at 42-33: only half a game back.

Both teams have impressive offenses and solid pitching staffs, and predicting a winner would be a foolish exercise because anything can happen.

The Red Sox, however, could have a competitive disadvantage.

“If the playoffs started today, the Red Sox would face the Blue Jays. In Toronto,” Buster Olney reminded us.


Houck May Not Be Available For Part Of The Hypothetical Series

However, since Canada doesn’t allow non-resident baseball players who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to travel there, Boston could be without pitcher Tanner Houck.

Houck is a valuable piece of the Red Sox pitching staff.

He is capable of being deployed as a starter or as a reliever.

He has been pitching out of the bullpen recently, and his season numbers are very good.

He has a 4-3 record with a rock-solid 3.42 ERA in 22 games and 47.1 innings.

Houck has struck out 47 hitters and owns a good 1.20 WHIP.

It’s obviously not ideal for manager Alex Cora if he can’t count on one of his most important bullpen pitchers for at least a couple of games in Toronto.

Unless Houck changes his mind about the vaccine, or the Canadian governments lifts its mandate, it’s hard to imagine the player traveling to Canada.

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