The thought process behind bringing Junichi Tazawa in for Ryan Dempster

Rob Bradford
August 13, 2013 - 8:31 pm

TORONTO '€“ Within the Red Sox'€™ 4-2, 10-inning win over the Blue Jays Tuesday night, there could be found a controversial managerial decision. With Ryan Dempster sitting at 88 pitches after seven innings '€“ having just completed a 10-pitch seventh '€“ Red Sox manager John Farrell chose to go to reliever Junichi Tazawa to start the eighth inning with the Sox clinging to a one-run lead. Tazawa, the Red Sox'€™ regular eighth-inning in tight ballgames, had experienced little success in his previous six outings against the Blue Jays this season. The righty had allowed six earned runs in just 5 1/3 innings, including four home runs. The end result wasn'€™t good for the Red Sox, with J.P. Arencibia depositing a 3-1 fastball over the left field for a game-tying home run. '€œI checked the video and the pitch I made I thought I missed the location, but sequence that led up to that pitch is something I have to work on,'€ Tazawa said through a translator. '€œI knew I had been struggling against this team and I was looking forward to payback. For some reason it didn'€™t work out that way. '€¦ I have to be more aggressive and do what I do best and I think that will take care of it.'€ Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia agreed with the reliever in regard to second-guessing the pitch selection (five straight fastballs), as well as location. '€œI think every team has a guy they face really well, that they see the ball well against,'€ the catcher said. '€œTaz seems to be the guy, so we have to see what we have to do to get them off his fastball. He got everyone else out. It was just a 3-2 heater that leaked out over the plate. We never really showed anything down and away. Every time we tried to go down there, we missed in. We have a guy who swings for some power, and he got a fastball over the plate.'€ As for the decision to go away from Dempster in favor of Tazawa, Farrell explained part of the decision revolved around having more of a fastball pitcher go up against Arencibia. '€œWell, it didn'€™t work out, obviously,'€ Farrell said. '€œWe felt like with power, it'€™s a better matchup with J.P., who handles offspeed stuff very well. Like I said, in this case it didn'€™t work out.'€ As for if Farrell had any hestitancy in going to Tazawa despite Toronto'€™s success against the reliever, the manger said, '€œNo, no reluctance at all. He'€™s been such a good reliever for us late in the games. We know he'€™s not going to create situations that we can'€™t work around. He doesn'€™t walk people. He'€™s going to challenge guys. This is a good fastball-hitting team. If you don'€™t locate well, they have a chance to square you up and that was the case tonight.'€ Farrell also surmised why the Blue Jays might have done so well against Tazawa. '€œI think they look in one area to go to and they look to go down and away to get a fastball,'€ he said. '€œA couple of times they'€™ve gotten into some fastball counts and it hasn'€™t worked out well for them. To me, it'€™s more they understanding where his strengths are and looking to attack it.'€