It’s no news flash to say ALCS MVP Koji Uehara has been brilliant since taking over as the Red Sox closer after injuries to Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey. Here are a few numbers that put it in perspective:
• Uehara has a 1.08 ERA and 0.56 WHIP overall this season (including postseason), but since he became the closer on June 26, he’s posted a 0.51 ERA (3 ER, 53 1/3 IP) and 0.39 WHIP (19 H, 2 BB) in 49 appearances. That’s the lowest WHIP in the majors in nearly 100 years. Only Dennis Eckersley even comes close with his 0.61 ERA in 1990.
• Uehara peppers the zone, throwing strikes at a very high rate: 74.4 percent of his pitches this season (including postseason) have gone for strikes, the highest rate in baseball (min. 60 IP).
• Remarkably, Uehara has gotten opponents to miss on 33 percent of swings against pitches in the strike zone. That’s the best mark in baseball (min. 60 IP) and more than double the league average of 15.7 percent. And he’s done it with a fastball that averages less than 90 miles per hour.
• It’s all about the splitter for Uehara. Opponents have batted .096 in at-bats ending his splitter this season, missing on 45 percent of swings.