And this week's closer is...

Junichi Tazawa will assume closing duties for the Red Sox.
Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

During his weekly appearance on MLB Network Radio (@MLBNetworkRadio), Red Sox manager John Farrell explained how the setup and closer role will look while Andrew Bailey (15-day DL; right biceps strain) and Joel Hanrahan (strained right forearm) deal with their injuries.

“We’d look to close Junichi Tazawa, keep Koji Uehara in the 8th inning role,” said Farrell. “Fortunately we have some depth internally.”

There was no news on Hanrahan’s MRI at the time Farrell spoke on the air. Hanrahan blew the save in Monday night’s game against the Twins. He gave up a one-out solo home run to Brian Dozier in the ninth inning, which tied the game. He then struck out Joe Mauer, threw a few more pitches, showed some agony and walked off the mound after Farrell and the trainers paid a visit, glancing once down at his arm.

Tazawa has been talked about for a few years now as a potential late-inning candidate in Boston’s bullpen. This season, he is 2-1 with nine holds in 16 appearances. He’s allowed four runs over 14.1 innings (2.51 ERA) and has struck out 18 batters as opposed to just three walks.

Uehara is infamously known for his high-fives. The spectacle takes place following each inning Uehara escapes unscathed. He has given up four runs in 13.2 innings (2.63 ERA), and like Tazawa has a great K/BB ratio (17/2).

Neither pitcher gives up much when they are summoned from the pen. Uehara’s 0.95 WHIP (Walks and Hits per Inning Pitched) barely beats Tazawa’s 0.98, meaning they generally allow just one runner to reach each outing, if that. The knock on the two has been the long-ball. They have combined to allow five home runs (Tazawa-2; Uehara-3).

Bottom line, if the eighth inning rolls around and Boston has a close lead tonight, this is what you can expect: Uehara followed by Tazawa.

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