Sunday, October 20, 2013
Automatic Uehara a deserving MVP
By Joe McDonald
BOSTON -- The dominance, exuberance and energy closer Koji Uehara has brought to the Red Sox in 2013 reminds us of Jonathan Papelbon, circa 2007.
Koji Uehara was named MVP of the ALCS after saving Game 6.
But make no mistake, Uehara is unquestionably his own man.
He pitched in five of the six games of the ALCS, earning himself MVP honors by racking up 6 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball, striking out nine, walking none and giving up just four hits.
In a word, Uehara was automatic, something you can’t say about the Tigers’ bullpen, whose struggles proved to be the difference between the Tigers and Red Sox and the reason why Boston is hosting its third World Series in 10 years.
“All I can say is I’m extremely, extremely happy right now,” Uehara said after the game through his translator.
He entered in the top of the ninth inning Saturday with a three-run lead. Before getting down to business, he paused for a moment in the grass behind the mound.
“To tell you the truth, I almost threw up,” he admitted after long after the 5-2 ALCS-clinching victory.
He of course composed himself and retired the side in short order, earning his third save of the series and fifth of the postseason.
“I don’t know if words can explain that,” Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz said of Uehara’s dominance. “He’s been unbelievable. He seems like he gets better every time out. As long as we can get him the ball in the late innings, we’re pretty confident about him.”
The Red Sox open the World Series against the Cardinals on Wednesday night at Fenway.