Closer Koji Uehara was a crucial part of the World Series Championship. Even though he started the season as a reliever, a series of injuries to two other closers landed Koji the job. The 38 year old from Japan took on the roll without batting an eye. He dominated the ninth inning. Nothing in baseball is ever guaranteed, but Koji was a close as you could come to automatic.
Oct 30, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Koji Uehara (19) celebrates after game six of the MLB baseball World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Fenway Park. The Red Sox won 6-1 to win the series four games to two. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
In 2013 Koji compiled 21 saves, 4 wins, an ERA of 1.09, and a WHIP of 0.565. Those are absolutely out of this world stats! In his first World Series of his career he pitched in 5 games, faced 15 batters, and managed to throw an average of only 11 pitches an inning. Nothing soothes an anxious baseball fan’s heart like a closer who gets the job done without allowing base runners. For the whole 2013 postseason Koji pitched 13.1 innings and gave up only 7 hits. He earned 1 run. Just one! His 16 strike outs were impressive. Nervous Red Sox fans appreciated his ability to get those Ks.
What will 2014 hold for Uehara? On April 3rd Koji will turn 39. He is in the last year of his two-year contract. Even though Koji was not the closer at the beginning of the 2013 season and he only ended up in the position because of injuries, it seems that the Sox will stick with him in the roll for 2014.
Sox fans will be looking forward to more Koji high-fives this season!