The All-Star rosters were announced today, as were the 10 finalists on the All-Star Final Vote. The National League has five position players while the AL has five pitchers. The Boston Red Sox current closer Koji Uehara is one of the final five.
Uehara has only allowed a hit in one of his seven appearances since being named the Red Sox closer on June 21. That game, against the Toronto Blue Jays, is also his lone blown save. However, he did earn the win that day. He has managed 10 strikeouts in the seven innings he has pitched in the past seven games.
I know, I know, small sample size, but he has suddenly put Red Sox fans at ease in the ninth inning of a tight game. Even before he was named closer, he was a guy I felt was worthy of making the All-Star game, as I noted back on June 25.
Uehara has been a steady force in the bullpen all season with a stellar ERA of 1.95 and a WHIP of just 0.78. He has proved he can pitch in any inning under any scenario. Since the All-Star game “counts”, Uehara could be a great asset considering it seems most closers get lit up under non-save situations.
Another great contribution Ueahara could bring is his attitude. He is as fun to watch after a successful inning as anybody in baseball. In a game full of stars, a guy that can run around and loosen guys up could have an impact on the team.