Red Sox closer Koji Uehara is out for the rest of the season with a fractured wrist, but manager John Farrell told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe that Jean Machi, not Junichi Tazawa, will get first crack at ninth-inning duties.
Tazawa has been Uehara’s primary setup man and has a 3.25 ERA in 252 career innings, but Farrell indicated that he’d rather keep him in the same role.
Machi has all of three career saves, was claimed off waivers from the Giants last month, and has allowed four runs in four appearances for the Red Sox, so turning to him as the new closer is … well, let’s just say surprising.
Uehara is signed for $9 million next season, so the job figures to be his again heading into 2016.
Koji Uehara took a line drive off his right wrist while closing out Friday’s win–throwing to first base to get the final out–and the Red Sox announced that he’ll miss the remainder of the season after being diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture.
Uehara finishes the season with 25 saves and a 2.23 ERA in 40 innings, holding opponents to a .188 batting average while posting a 47/9 K/BB ratio. It’s a spectacular performance for any reliever and especially so for a 40-year-old who came into the season with plenty of questions marks attached after he struggled down the stretch in 2014.
Uehara is under contract for $9 million in 2016 and figures to remain the Red Sox’s closer. Junichi Tazawa is expected to take over ninth-inning duties for the final seven weeks of the season after doing excellent work as Uehara’s setup man for years, including a 3.19 ERA and 48/7 K/BB ratio in 48 innings this season.
Mike Trout launched his third career walkoff homer off Koji Uehara with two outs in the bottom of the ninth Friday, giving the Angels a 1-0 win over the Red Sox.
Uehara was able to get ahead with a fastball to begin the at-bat against Trout, but he opted to throw him another one right away, rather than go to the trusty splitter. Trout deposited it over the walk in left-center to end it.
Trout had been 0-for-5 with three strikeouts against Uehara in his career.
Both starters threw gems in this one, only to be left with no-decisions. Boston’s Wade Miley took a no-hitter into the seventh before Kole Calhoun doubled. He pitched scoreless ball into the eighth. The Angels’ C.J. Wilson completed eight scoreless despite never turning in a one-two-three inning. The win ended up going to Joe Smith, who pitched a scoreless ninth for the Angels.
With the homer, Trout moved into a tie with the injured Giancarlo Stanton for the major league lead at 27. He also leads the majors with 70 runs scored.
If Thursday afternoon wasn’t rock bottom for the Red Sox, they could have a long summer ahead of them.
After blowing an early lead and making mishaps on the bases and in the field, the Red Sox lost 8-4 to the Twins yesterday at Fenway Park in Boston.
Powered by home runs from Dustin Pedroia and Blake Swihart against lefty Tommy Milone, the Red Sox had a 4-0 lead through four innings. However, knuckleballer Steven Wright gave up a three-run homer to Torii Hunter in the fifth inning before Kurt Suzuki tied things up with an RBI single in the sixth. The Red Sox ran out of a possible rally on back-to-back plays in the seventh after Hanley Ramirez tried to go to third base on ground ball to the left side of the infield and Mike Napoli was thrown out trying to score from first base on a single. Not good.
The ugliness continued in the top of the ninth after the first two batters reached against Koji Uehara. Joe Mauer surprisingly dropped down a bunt, but Pablo Sandoval couldn’t handle the throw to third base from Swihart and the go-ahead run came around to score. The Twins tacked on three more runs before Glen Perkins retired the Red Sox in order in the bottom of the ninth to lock down the victory.
The Red Sox have lost 11 out of their last 16 games and sit at 24-31 on the season. Amazingly, that still puts them just 5 1/2 games out of first place, but that’s the mediocrity of the American League East for you.
Below are Thursday’s box scores and recaps…
Twins 8, Red Sox 4
Athletics 7, Tigers 5
Orioles 3, Astros 2
Indians 6, Royals 2 (called after 8 innings)
White Sox 2, Rangers 1 (11 innings)
Reds 6, Phillies 2
Cubs 2, Nationals 1
Mets 6, Diamondbacks 2
Cardinals 7, Dodgers 1
Rays 2, Mariners 1
Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton delivered a walk-off two-run double in the bottom of the ninth inning to help pull out a win against the Red Sox on Sunday.
Hanser Alberto reached base to lead off the inning due to a Pablo Sandoval fielding error. After a sacrifice bunt and a ground out, Alberto was on third base, but Red Sox manager John Farrell opted to have closer Koji Uehara intentionally walk the hot-hitting Prince Fielder to bring up Hamilton. Hamilton made the Red Sox pay for the decision as he ripped a 1-1 off-speed pitch to left-center. Alberto scored easily to tie the game, and Fielder motored around the bases to score the winning run with a head-first slide.
Hamilton, in his first 26 plate appearances of the season, is hitting .273/.385/.636 with two home runs and four RBI.