Red Sox vs. Rays ALDS 2013: Koji Uehara is the Difference-Maker
Prior to 2013, the Boston Red Sox wanted to make sure to solidify their closer role this past offseason. This was a job to be done by former closers Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey as the preseason plan B, but season-ending injuries wound up derailing the team’s plans for the ninth inning.
Having experimented with several arms to undesired results and running out of options, the Red Sox turned to veteran Koji Uehara. Uehara, entered the season with 14 career saves in his first four years. He was named the closer on June 26 and from that point on, he was simply the best pitcher in baseball. He pitched in 41 games and gave up only three runs (two of them earned) in 44.1 innings.
He struck out 59 batters, gave up only one home run and blew two out of his 22 save opportunities.
Not only has his season been impressive, his career versus the Tampa Bay Rays may be even better. When the Red Sox and Rays meet in the ALCS, the Rays will be hoping that the ball never gets in the hands of Uehara. The current roster of Rays hitters have gone a combined 8-for-77 with 30 strikeouts against him.
That translates to a .104 batting average, a .138 OBP and a slugging percentage of .195. All-Stars Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist are a combined 4-for-31 with zero home runs and one RBI against Uehara.
With Uehara’s success against the Rays, he essentially makes it an eight-inning game, and will be the ultimate difference-maker in this series.
5 Trades the Washington Nationals Could Still Make
The Washington Nationals have been big winners this winter. Here are five trades they still could make to improve their roster even more. Read More
Everth Cabrera Could Be Classic Rays Success Story
Everth Cabrera had a rough 2014, but signing with the Tampa Bay Rays could get his career back on track and fill a need for the team at the same time. Read More
Jesus Montero Becoming Relevant Again For Mariners
People close to the Seattle Mariners' organization insist that Jesus Montero will take a big step forward with his career in 2015. Read More
5 Players Red Sox Need To Trade For By 2015 Season
With no ace and lots of outfielders on the depth chart ripe with club-controlled contracts, it's time for the Boston Red Sox to make a big splash. Read More
Ranking the Diamondbacks’ Top 10 Prospects in 2015
Power pitching right-handers head the list of top prospects in the Arizona Diamondbacks' farm system headed toward Opening Day 2015. Read More