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Entries in Koji Uehara (6)

Sunday
Jul072013

The Red Sox are over-using Koji Uehara

The Red Sox have had nothing but trouble in the closer's slot ever since they let Jonathan Papelbon escape to Philadelphia after the 2011 season.

It's been a series of bad judgments, bad performances, and bad injuries in the back of the pen.

The Sox have seen eight different relievers earn at least one save for Boston 

Rk Player SV From To G GF
1 Alfredo Aceves 25 2012 2013 78 57
2 Andrew Bailey 14 2012 2013 47 30
3 Koji Uehara 5 2013 2013 40 12
4 Joel Hanrahan 4 2013 2013 9 6
5 Franklin Morales 1 2012 2013 43 6
6 Junichi Tazawa 1 2012 2013 77 20
7 Mark Melancon 1 2012 2012 41 17
8 Vicente Padilla 1 2012 2012 56 10
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/7/2013.

Koji Uehara is the latest to try closing

Koji Uehara is an exuberant, youthful 38-years old, but he has never appeared in as many games prior to the All-Star break.


Year W L W-L% ERA G GS GF SV IP HR BB SO WHIP
  2009 2 4 .333 4.05 12 12 0 0 66.2 7 12 48 1.245
  2010 0 0   4.00 10 0 3 0 9.0 0 4 10 1.667
  2011 1 1 .500 2.03 37 0 17 0 40.0 6 8 52 0.750
  2012 0 0   2.11 20 0 8 0 21.1 3 2 22 0.703
  2013 2 0 1.000 1.93 40 0 12 5 37.1 5 8 53 0.830
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/7/2013.

In addition, he has never been in as many pressure situations as you can see by virtue of the fact that these are his first pre-break saves.

From June 26 - July 6

  • Koji has appeared in eight games.
  • He is 2-0.
  • He's earned four saves and blown two saves.
  • He has a 1.23 ERA and 0.704 WHIP.
  • He's pitched 7.1 innings, allowed four hits, one homer, one walk, and 11 whiffs.

Uehara has thrown 118 pitches, 87 strikes

Of the 118 pitches, 54 are fastballs, 59 are splitters

Uehara is throwing 74% of his pitches for strikes, but he is really heavily in the strike zone. There is not a lot of working of corners.

  • He averages 89.3 on the fastball.
  • He averages 81.1 on the splitter.

When you throw at that speed, location is an imperative

As you can see, too many Uehara pitches are up in the zone. Instead of working up-and-down, Koji's fastballs and splitters are working either side of the plate and that reduces the room for error.

Last night in Anaheim

Koji blew the save last night in the Red Sox 9-7 loss to the Angels. He cam into the game with the bases full, one down in the 9th trying to close out a 7-4 game.

He didn't.

 

  • He faced four batters and allowed two hits which permitted the three inherited runners to score and then when Brandon Snyder tossed the ball into right field on what should hav been the third out, the tying run scored. Uehara should never have put the Sox in that position, he just couldn't put anyone away.
  • He threw four fastballs - averaging 89.1. Batters swung at three, missed one.
  • He threw one slider - it was in a great location, low and away but it was 84.8 and at that speed Albert Pujols made the adjustment and lined it for a two-run single.
  • He threw 12 splitters - averaging 81.0. Batters swung at nine, missed four, but one went for a Josh Hamilton RBI single.
  • He has now allowed seven-of 19 inherited runners to score. Among prelievers who have inherited at least 15 base runners this season, Uehara ranks 56th with a an IRS tax rate of 36.84%.

Bottom Line

Koji is a good pitcher who seems to be a fun teammate. He is not built to be a closer, at least certainly not the closer of a post-season team, but he's a terrific bridge to the closer. 

Chances are really good that Red Sox GM Ben Cherington already knows that and is working those phones and hopefully for Boston he will land some bullpen help before Uehera is running on empty.

Thursday
Dec062012

Koji Uehara headed to Red Sox, will share bullpen and interpreter with Junichi Tazawa

Right-hander reliever Koji Uehara has agreed to a one-year deal with Boston, the second Texas Ranger after thought to join the Sox joining Mike Napoli who also signed was a free agent.

The 37-year old Uehara became a Rangers spare part after Texas signed Joakim Soria.

Look how incredibly consistent Uehara was with his 513 pitches

Facing 130 batters, Uehara only allowed eight extra-base hits (four homers, four doubles) and only walked three. Batters hit .143 off his fastball and .155 off his slider, the two pitches which accounted for 96.2% of the pitches he threw.

Uehara had some impressive splits in 2012 when he went 0-0 with one save.

SplitGPAABRH2B3BHRBBSOSO/BBBAOBPSLGOPS
vs RHB as RHP 29 59 56 2 7 2 0 1 2 22 11.00 .125 .155 .214 .369
vs LHB as RHP 36 71 69 10 13 2 0 3 1 21 21.00 .188 .197 .348 .545
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 12/6/2012.

Among relievers since 2010 who have made at least 100 appearances, Uehara has the 13th best ERA

RkPlayerERAGRSV
1 Craig Kimbrel 1.46 163 89
2 Eric O’Flaherty 1.59 198 0
3 Sergio Romo 1.85 202 15
4 Mariano Rivera 1.87 134 82
5 Mike Adams 2.06 206 3
6 Santiago Casilla 2.22 174 33
7 Kenley Jansen 2.22 141 34
8 Jonny Venters 2.23 230 6
9 Darren Oliver 2.29 187 5
10 Aroldis Chapman 2.33 137 39
11 Scott Downs 2.35 184 10
12 Ernesto Frieri 2.35 159 23
13 Koji Uehara 2.36 145 14
14 Luis Ayala 2.40 118 1
15 Jason Motte 2.43 201 53
16 Grant Balfour 2.44 194 26
17 Ryan Madson 2.45 117 37
18 Brian Wilson 2.46 129 85
19 Sean Marshall 2.47 231 15
20 David Robertson 2.48 199 4
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/6/2012.
Sunday
Jul312011

Koji Uehara good pick up for the Rangers

WWhen you look at the strong desire by so many teams for set-up men coming out the bullpen, you have to think that the Rangers made a really good deal acquiring Koji Uehara from the Baltimore Orioles.

Uehara is a 36-year old righty who is having a superior season out of the pen. In 43 appearances he has thrown 47 innings with an ERA of 1.72 and a microscopic WHIP of 0.702. He has recorded 13 holds, but he has allowed six homers. His control is outstanding, he has walked only eight while striking out 62 batters (11.9 per 9 innings), a 7.75 strikeout to walk ratio.

Let's take a look...

Uehara has faced 174 batters this seasonOverall batters are hitting just .152 against Koji. Righties are only hitting .171, but what makes Uehara particularly valuable is that lefties are hitting only .136.

Uehara against lefties

Koji pounds the outside against leftiesUehara has faced 96 lefties, allowed a mere 12 hits including two doubles and three homers. He has walked eight and whiffed an amazing 34. For the most part, batters have not been able to go to the opposite field against Uehara, in spite of the predominance of outside zone pitches. Of the 12 hits allowed only two have been to left: a double by Matt Stairs and an infield single by Roger Bernadina, both of the Nationals. Just 18 outs have been record to the left of second base and centerfield.

Uehara with runners on base

Koji has pitched with 57 runners on baseWhile Uehara has allowed 4-of-10 inherited runners to score, the data is somewhat misleading. All four runs scored as a result of a pair of two-run homers from Kevin Youkilis (4/27) and Johnny Damon (5/6). With runners on base, batters are 6-for-52 with 3 walks and 20 strikeouts. He has not given up an extra-base hit with a runner on base since Damon in early May, covering 32 appearances. Overall, batters are hitting .115, righties hitting .227, lefties .033. Lefties are 1-for-30 with runners on base against him and that's the Damon homer. 

As Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News points out:

"The Rangers will, in all likelihood, control Uehara, 36, for 2012. He has a vesting option in his contract that kicks in at 55 appearances. He is currently at 43. The vesting option is for $4 million. The Rangers will also receive "significant" cash from Baltimore."

If Uehara can come close to the same success with Texas as he has with the Orioles, the deal sending to Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter to Baltimore, may prove to be both a bridge to the closer and a bridge back to the World Series.

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