The Koji Uehara Experience in Boston has reached the insanity level. When he shut down the Yankees 1-2-3 in the ninth inning Friday, his streak of retiring consecutive batters reached 37. He has been perfect his last nine save opportunities. His career strikeout-walk ratio of 326/38 is the best, ever. In 45 career games in September and October, he has 45 strikeouts and one walk, that is 45 strikeouts and one walk. In 211 career relief appearances, he has 276 strikeouts and 26 walks.
“He is Bruce Sutter revisited,” says Yankees pitching Coach Larry Rothschild. “He’s got three different splits (split-fingered fastballs). I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anyone quite like him.”
“Actually,” says John Farrell, “he has four different splits. It’s amazing what he does.”
Farrell and his pitching coaches Juan Nieves and Dana LeVangie have done a remarkable job not over-extending Uehara, who has allowed a run in one of his last 21 appearances and now, in case you haven’t noticed, has a 2.86 earned run average in eight major league seasons. The more Junichi Tazawa works in his curveball, the better he pitches, and Franklin Morales, finally healthy, has seen his velocity spike up four miles per hour since June and in the last month has found increasing effectiveness with his slider and split and will be a post-season factor.
But there’s only one Koji. One career walk in September and October.