Koji Uehara inherited the Boston Red Sox‘ closer role this season after Andrew Bailey injured himself in July and Joel Hanrahan underwent Tommy John surgery in May, shutting him down for the rest of the season. Uehara embraced the role, and he has been one of the most important players on this Boston team that has earned an AL East title after erupting in 2011 and 2012.
Uehara has pitched in 69 games this season and has recorded 19 saves this season for Boston. He has also recorded an untouchable 1.18 ERA and a remarkable 12.4 K/9. The latter half of Boston’s 93 wins this season comes on the back of Uehara.
In July, Uehara started to get more use. He struck out 21 batters in 14 games, and only walked one while opponents batted .098 against him. The next month, opponents were only batting .086 against him. Boston’s 21-19 record in one-run games is not exactly something to marvel at, but because they do have a winning record in those types of games, Uehara’s importance increases even more.
The next goal for the Red Sox is to continue this performance into the playoffs. Uehara is a huge contributor, but the rest of the team’s bullpen needs to hold it together for another month of baseball to get a shot at the World Series. With the way Boston has played this year, another championship is sure to be in their sights.