Garrett Whitlock will make his third start of the season for the Red Sox in Wednesday night’s game against the Angels at Fenway Park, manager Alex Cora said Saturday.
After opening the year in Boston’s bullpen as a multi-inning reliever, Whitlock moved into the starting rotation on April 23 and has made two starts against the Rays and Blue Jays on the road. Over 16 2/3 total innings of work, the right-hander has posted a miniscule 0.54 ERA and 2.20 FIP to go along with four walks and 20 strikeouts.
While Whitlock will remain in the Sox’ rotation for the time being, Cora would not commit to the 25-year-old as a starter beyond Wednesday since the club has three off days within the next two weeks.
“Let’s see how it goes,” Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo). “We’ve got the off day on Monday. Obviously, we’ve got another off day a week from Monday. He’ll start on Wednesday and then we’ll keep making decisions.”
Cora also indicated that Whitlock’s pitch count on Wednesday will surpass the career-high of 61 he threw in Toronto this past Thursday. In his first time out as a starter in St. Petersburg last Saturday, the righty needed just 48 pitches (33 strikes) to toss four scoreless, one-hit innings.
With Whitlock sticking as a starter for now, Tanner Houck is expected to remain in the bullpen. Houck began the season as a member of Boston’s starting rotation but his last two appearances have come in relief after missing the team’s four-game series in Toronto on account of not being vaccinated against COVID-19.
Between the two, the Sox can mix and match with Houck and Whitlock if they so choose when it comes to their respective roles. Also, as noted by Cotillo, the impending returns of left-handers James Paxton and Chris Sale at some point this summer will further shake up the club’s rotation mix in the coming months.
(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Joshua Bessex/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)