Koji Uehara

Koji Uehara after latest blown save: 'It's nothing about fatigue'

Rob Bradford
August 25, 2014 - 7:45 pm

TORONTO --  His drop-off-the-table split-fingered fastball might be on hiatus, but Koji Uehara hasn't lost his sense of humor. Following the Red Sox' 4-3 win over the Blue Jays -- in which Uehara allowed the hosts to tie the game in the ninth by allowing all three inherited baserunners to score -- the closer was asked if fatigue might be an issue. "It's nothing about fatigue," he said through a translator. Later, when reminded he had tossed 148 total innings (and 2,095 total pitches) over the last two seasons, Uehara reiterated his stance. "Still, I don't think that's the case." Finally, the reliever relented. "I'm willing to take a break for a month," he joked. Then, with the reporters walking away, Uehara added, "See you next year." Uehara is in a rut like nothing the Red Sox have seen since he joined the club starting in 2013. Coming into Monday night, he had allowed at least one run in three straight outings. This time, he wasn't charged with a run but did allow one run to score via a fielder's choice after coming on for Clay Buchholz with one out and the bases loaded in the ninth. Then he gave up the game-tying hit, a two-run double off the left field wall off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion. The Encarnacion blast, which was just out of the reach of an outstretched Yoenis Cespedes, epitomized Uehara's problem of late -- the result of an ineffective splitter. "It's about my split," he said. "I'm not controlling it." He then added, "All I can say is that I'm not finishing the pitches as I want to." In Uehara's last four outings, he has given up seven runs on 10 hits. Prior to August, since joining the Red Sox, the righty's high for the entirety of any entire single month was three runs and nine hits. As of now, Red Sox manager John Farrell said there is no plan to shut the reliever down for a time. (It should be noted that Uehara has thrown just 36 more pitches this season than he had on Aug. 25 last year.) "Not at this point. What we're being very conscious of is the frequency of the use," Farrell said. "There's nothing physical that is a restriction for him. We check in with him every day. He goes through his normal throwing program. Wouldn't rule it out, but at this point we haven't considered shutting him down."