Manager John Farrell has not been coy about his plans with Koji Uehara.
They will be relying on him for more than the normal closers three out save in the ninth inning. There have been just too many blown bridge attempts to get through the seventh and eighth innings with the game on the line this season.
It is probably the only major concern that the Red Sox have heading into the postseason, middle relief.
Only Craig Breslow has been effective coming out of the bullpen, posting numbers that begin to approach Uehara like standards. He has allowed only two earned runs in 31-2/3 innings with a 1.01 WHIP in his last 32 appearances since July 9.
For the rest, it has been very much a crapshoot, with a roll of the dice about as effective as the Red Sox relievers Junichi Tazawa, rookie Brandon Workman, lefty Franklin Morales and converted starter Ryan Dempster. None of these relievers can consistently miss bats or produce easy outs to bridge the gap to Uehara.
The question is, at age 38 and after reaching career-high innings pitched (74-1/3), can Uehara handle the increased workload?
John Farrell thinks so stating, “We’re certainly willing to go more than a three-out save, Hell, there might be a six-out save at some point."
If there was ever a time to flex your muscles, it will be in the postseason and with games on the line, who in the Red Sox Nation does not want to see Uehara jogging out to the mound from the 8th inning onwards?
Eric is a contributing writer since 2013 and a true Overseas Fan of the Boston Red Sox living in the Netherlands. He's spent years on baseball fields around the world pitching. His weekends are now spent helping the next generations of pitchers to find their passion and love for the sport. More articles by Eric: https://www.redsoxlife.com/search/label/ericschabell