The Boston Red Sox have come to expect a lot out of closing pitcher Koji Uehara. Unfortunately the pressure seems to be mounting as he admitted after a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs that he is feeling fatigued.
“I probably need to get younger,” he stated during an interview through team interpreter C.J. Matsumoto. Despite being able to joke about it, he admitted to feeling some fatigue and said, “I think the command of my split is not quite where I want it to be.”
Not playing up to his insanely impressive standards seems somewhat greedy, however Uehara definitely wants to get back on track. Red Sox manager John Farrell stated, “When he’s given up some base hits, it’s been on first or second pitch, where he’s trying to get a strike and it’s not the true put away split. It’s been more in the early counts where we’ve seen some the damage take place.”
Uehara agrees with this assessment of his play and is insistent that he will work on making the necessary adjustments to get back on track. Uehara has a1.40 ERA in 38 appearances so far this season.
His teammates don’t seem too concerned and have faith that he will get back to his normal play soon. Catcher AJ Pierzynski said, “Everyone knows Koji throws fastball and split pretty much, so he makes a good pitch he gets guys out. It’s not like he’s been getting crushed all over the yard. He got a bunch of saves on the road trip. Threw the ball fine, like I said. Rizzo hit a good pitch. Castro hit a pretty good pitch, and then Valbuena had a good at-bat and hit one just far enough. I mean, I don’t know what you guys want.”
Pierzynski has a point. Uehara is held to some extremely high standards, though he has set them for himself to some degree. Uehara simply plans to get some rest and eat healthy and believes this will be enough to straighten him out.