Who is Koji Uehara?
Prior to this season, he was a nobody in most peoples’ minds. He spent 2012 with the Texas Rangers and was a valuable bullpen arm, but this year was something altogether different.
At age 38, Uehara went 4-1 with a minuscule 1.09 earned run average, with most of these appearances coming after he inherited the vacant Red Sox closer’s job mid-way through the campaign.
And boy, did he deliver. The right-hander picked up 21 saves during the rest of the regular season, striking out 101 batters in just 74 1/3 innings of work. averaging a career high of 12.2 K/9.
After playing a critical role in the Red Sox’ bounce back season after their worst season in decades in 2012, Uehara stepped up again in the postseason.
He allowed just one run in three appearances in the ALDS, picking up two saves. In the American League Championship Series, Uehara was absolutely dominant, throwing six innings, finishing five of the six games in the series and notching nine strikeouts.
Before the champagne shower in the locker room at Fenway Park, the Neyagawa, Japan native was named the ALCS MVP, surrounded by teammates and family, with his now-famous grin plastered across his face.
Don’t forget the name Koji Uehara. He may prove to be Boston’s most valuable asset in the upcoming World Series.