Koji Uehara was struck in the arm, fracturing his wrist on the last pitch of the game Friday, ending his season. Uehara had recorded 25 saves in 27 opportunities to this point, and the rest of the pitching staff recorded 2 saves in 16 opportunities. The question now is; If the Red Sox somehow find themselves in a situation where they need someone to record a save who gets the nod out of the bullpen? Below are a few options.
Tazawa has been consistent for the last few years in the Red Sox bullpen. After the trade of Andrew Miller last season, he stepped up as the most consistent pitcher in the bullpen. This season he has pitched in 50 games and has thrown 49 innings, so his work rate is already consistent of a closer. This season Tazawa has his lowest WHIP in the last three years at a low 1.12 which is only .08 higher than the MLB leader in saves, Mark Melancon.
Machi was claimed off of waivers in late July, and he has started to feature more in the Red Sox bullpen. Machi had his best years in 2013-2014, when he had a 2.49 ERA while throwing 119.1 innings. Machi was never everyday closer for the San Francisco Giants, but his velocity and ground ball ratio are positives and could lead to success in the closer role.
Yes, I did just list Joe Kelly as an option to become the everyday closer for the Red Sox. There is one reason, and one reason only, velocity. Kelly has the ability to throw a fireball, and he has proven that he can strike batters out by overpowering them. Imagine having Steven Wright throw the knuckleball all game and then have to deal with Joe Kelly throwing pitches that will look much faster than they actually are. This would also get Kelly out of the rotation, something that fans have wanted for an extremely long time, and it is much easier to give up lots of runs when you pitch 5 innings instead of 1.
Who do you think should become the everyday closer for the Red Sox? Leave your answers below or let me know on twitter by clicking here.