In a series in which neither the Boston Red Sox nor the Detroit Tigers offense has been prolific and the starting pitching for both clubs has been close to dominant, one thing has made a major difference in the Red Sox’ 3-2 series lead: Their bullpen. Specifically Koji Uehara.
Uehara has been masterful so far in this series and frankly all season for the Sox. Consider this: He hasn’t walked a batter since August. That is almost two full months without a walk which is remarkable stuff. His brilliance continued last night with a five-out save that changed and tilted the momentum in the series back in the Red Sox favor.
This has certainly been an ALCS to remember. Besides Wednesday night’s shellacking every game has been razor close decided by a single run. What totally turned this series on its head was the Red Sox’ mammoth comeback in Game 2 when it looked certain they would go down 2-0 in the series with their World Series hopes on life support.
We all saw what happened next. The Tigers bullpen imploded and the Red Sox, for the most part, haven’t looked back since. While the Red Sox’ starting pitching has been solid no doubt, it is their bullpen that has continued to get out of jams.
On a night where Jon Lester‘s command wasn’t his best, Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow, and finally Uehara shut it down from there. It was a phenomenal showing in crunch time with the pressure mounting for the Sox pen.
No doubt there will be more heart-pounding late-inning moments in this series. There is one team that clearly has the edge in these pressure filled moments thanks to the dominant back end of their bullpen: The Red Sox.