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.