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Uehara Livin' Large For Red Sox

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Even though he was pretty awful in the 2011 postseason, it was hard to not like Koji Uehara during his stint with the Texas Rangers, which spanned half of the 2011 season and the full 2012 season.

    The veteran relief pitcher was excitable and just downright fun to watch when he was going well.

    Never have you seen a guy that throws his fastball 89 or 90 mph be so dominant, but with Uehara's split-finger fastball working, he's as dominant as they come, and he's shining in his new role as the Boston Red Sox's closer.

    After signing with Boston this winter when Texas chose to not bring him back, Uehara was inserted as the team's setup man and then after Andrew Bailey got hurt and Junichi Tazawa failed, Uehara got a shot at the closer's role and never looked back.

    In 74 innings this year, and only about a half-season as the team's closer, Uehara racked up 21 saves with 101 strikeouts and just nine walks.

    On Tuesday afternoon in a pivotal ALCS Game 3, the Red Sox used a great outing from John Lackey and a stellar four-out save from Uehara to take a 2-1 series lead on the Tigers.

    Uehara entered the game in the bottom of the eighth inning with runners on first and third base and Prince Fielder at the plate, and the veteran closer quickly struck out Fielder to end the inning and the threat. He worked a relatively clean ninth after giving up a leadoff single, getting a double play and then striking out Alex Avila to end the game.

    It's hard to second-guess the Rangers' decision to let Uehara go, as the Rangers' bullpen was its strength this season, but it's nice to see Uehara finding success elsewhere.