One of the reasons why the Boston Red Sox might have the best bullpen in baseball is the presense of Koji Uehara. Being able to use someone as effective as Uehara in the sixth inning of games gives the Red Sox a huge advantage over the rest of baseball.
Uehara’s signing has all of the earmarks of being a very shrewd move by the Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, one that flew under-the-radar this past winter, but looks great here in April.
The right-hander has had a tremendous amount of success during his five years in the major leagues, pitching very effectively with the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers. That experience has shown that he can pitch in the AL East and also in a pennant race.
In other words, he is battle-tested. He will also be a great mentor for Junichi Tazawa.
His numbers speak for themselves: he has a career 2.86 ERA and is averaging over a strikeout per inning during. Combine that was a 0.91 WHIP, and he pretty does exactly what you want a reliever to do — throw strikes and minimize the damage.
Uehara also gives Red Sox manager John Farrell a ton of matchup options because he is equally effective against righties (.205) and lefties (.213) in his career.
It’s very early, but Uehara looks like he going to have a big impact on the Red Sox this season.