As I wrote in a previous article, one of the best setup men in all of MLB is Junichi Tazawa of the Boston Red Sox. There are times when he looks absolutely unhittable and is a force to be reckoned with. That is until he faces the Toronto Blue Jays. Then it looks like he can’t get anyone out. The Blue Jays seem to be his kryptonite.
This puzzling trend continued again in the weekend series against the Blue Jays. Tazawa gave up three hits and two runs in his very brief appearance in the eighth inning. Luckily, the Red Sox were able to hold on and win the game, but it was no thanks to Tazawa. The same thing happened last year where it seemed with every appearance he consistently struggled against them.
It is theorized that Tazawa might be tipping his pitches, but that is kind of a wild theory. Don’t you think that if he was tipping his pitches, then at least one other team would have figured that out as well? Another guess is that the Blue Jays see something in his delivery that no one else does. Again, though, I would think that some other team out there would have picked up on what the Blue Jays have. His delivery is complex but not that baffling.
My guess is that sometimes in baseball a team has your number for whatever reason, and this is one of those instances. I think it may have been just some bad performances that have now turned into almost like a mental block. Boston is facing Toronto a lot more times this year. Hopefully Tazawa can figure it out at some point.