Koji Uehara Should Remain Boston Red Sox Closer
I know that I have recently written that Andrew Bailey will get a chance if he starts to pitch well, but Koji Uehara is just phenomenal in the closer's role for the Boston Red Sox.
In his last three save chances, Uehara has yet to allow a runner on base and has totaled six strikeouts in those three innings of work. He is 3-for-3 over that span and has only one blown save all season.
What is amazing about Uehara is that he does not have the velocity many closers have. He throws about 89-90 mph, but is very deceitful in his delivery and has a nasty splitter that hitters usually can't pick up after watching the fastball go by a couple times.
Many batters have even swung through his fastball as if it were in the mid-to-upper-90s.
Uehara may need a day off after three straight days of work in the closer's role, but remember he is 38 years old and the wear and tear of too much work is something the Red Sox do not need for another "could-be" closer in the near future.
With a 1.91 ERA and 48 strikeouts through 33 innings of work, Uehara is definitely making a case to be the closer until the end of the 2013 season for the Red Sox. His 0.79 WHIP is second among relievers with at least 30 innings pitched.
Uehara also happens to be a very emotional/high-energy guy out of the bullpen. After a strong outing or getting out of the jam, he always high-fives everyone on his squad.
That type of reaction is what the Red Sox need out of their closer. The type of emotion that makes it exciting to watch the closer come in and not worry about walks and homers that could lose the game.
Who should be the Red Sox closer?
Bailey's struggles have mainly been because of the location and movement of his fastball. He may have been back to throwing 95-96 mph in his latest outing, but he is still throwing his fastball flat and straight out over the plate. He missed his location and Edwin Encarnacion took him out to dead center for another allowed homer.
The former Oakland Athlethic has now allowed seven home runs in 2013 and that makes it very nerve-racking to have him in as closer.
If Uehara continues to be solid as the closer, then Bailey will have to just be another piece of the bullpen that the Red Sox have relied upon all season long. Or the Red Sox will have to find a way to place Bailey on the DL if he continues to struggle.
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