Red Sox closer Koji Uehara has been human of late, blowing back-to-back saves and allowing a total of seven runs in his previous four appearances, which has people wondering if the 39-year-old right-hander is wearing down.
However, after last night’s blown save Uehara told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that “it’s nothing about fatigue” and then replied “still, I don’t think that’s the case” when told he’s approaching 150 total innings since the beginning of last season.
Red Sox manager John Farrell took a similar stance, saying the team is “being very conscious of the frequency of the use” but has no plans to shut him down.
Even with his recent struggles Uehara has a 2.25 ERA and spectacular 73/8 K/BB ratio in 60 innings overall this season, which are incredible numbers even if they pale in comparison to his ridiculous 2013 season totals.
What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Just ask Javier Baez, who tracked down a sizzling 106-MPH ground ball from Jose Bautista on Friday afternoon. The defensive gem helped preserve the Cubs’ three-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, paving the way for Wade Davis‘ 25th save of the season.
Baez also impressed at the plate, collecting an RBI single in the second inning before getting tagged out at home by Miguel Montero on a convoluted 9-6-3-6-2 putout. He returned in the eighth inning to pester Tim Mayza and cleared the left field hedge with a 409-foot, two-run blast for his 20th home run of the year. With the win, the Cubs improved to 64-57 and now hold a scant 1.5-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.
The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.