Koji Uehara #19 of the Texas Rangers.
It is still not a done deal that the Texas Rangers will be playing in October, past the last three regular-season games in Oakland. It's pretty darn close to being official though.
And when the Rangers start the playoffs, against whoever they start the playoffs against, Koji Uehara will be a key member of the team's bullpen. And what a journey it's been for Uehara, who was left off the World Series roster last year after being traded to Texas at the trade deadline and expected to be a shutdown reliever.
In fact, the Rangers tried to trade Uehara in the off-season to the Toronto Blue Jays, but he blocked the deal. Now, the Rangers couldn't be happier.
Uehara pitched the seventh inning of a tie game on Tuesday night against the Oakland A's and he retired the side with two strikeouts. His split-finger fastball is back to what it was when he was a Baltimore Oriole and had an ERA hovering around the 1.00 mark.
Now, it's up to 2.01 but has been in the 1s for a good amount of the season and would be if you throw out a couple of games in which he gave up two runs each.
He has nine September apperances and has yet to give up a run. Heck, in seven September innings, he's given up a grand total of one hit, one walk and has 11 strikeouts.
He's gone from being a sixth inning guy to a guy the Rangers and Ron Washington can trust in the seventh or eighth inning during the playoffs. He even picked up a big save last week.
And to think, he could be toiling away in Toronto right now.