Writing about baseball is my job. I am incredibly lucky as not only am I barely employable and a terrible writer, I also love baseball with every fiber of my being. Love it. My mandate here at Getting Blanked is to cover all teams and all baseball goings on. I don’t pretend to be a passionless lizard, soul dead from “professional” responsibilities recusing me from cheering or expressing a rooting interest. I grew up a Blue Jays fan and remain a Blue Jays fan to this day.
Watching baseball in bulk softens many of the edges forged over a lifetime of single-minded focus on one particular baseball team. I don’t have the same “hate” for the opposition. Maybe this lessens me as a fan, maybe not. I’m not really one to harbor imaginary grudges or seek vengeance against those who wrong my local nine in any way.
I feel grateful for the ability to watch players like David Ortiz and Mariano Rivera and appreciate what they can do on the field rather than take their baseball achievement as a slight against everything I hold dear. Ironic detachment has its advantages.
Koji Uehara is a damn fine reliever when used correctly (underlined bolded written in block letters on the street John Farrell lives on.) Consider him a little bit like Sergio Romo of the Giants – an excellent weapon when deployed judiciously. Koji posted rather absurd numbers with the Rangers in 2012. Striking out 33.1 % compared to just a 2.3 % walk rate, good enough for a mere 54 FIP-, right in line with his career mark of 68 (FIP relative to league average. Lower is better aka Koji the best).
But among Rangers relievers, only Mark Lowe entered games in lower leveraged situations. He only pitched on consecutive days 9 times in 2012, all coming during the Rangers push for the playoffs/epic collapse in September. He only recorded 8 shutdowns despite appearing in 37 games and allowing a mere seven runs on the season.
Perhaps the Red Sox will use Koji better than the Rangers, taking advantage of his excellent ability to get guys out. Ron Washington seemed to lose faith in Uehara after a disastrous run at the end of the 2011 season, when Uehera was dogged by the long ball and simply didn’t pitch as well as the situations required.
Watching Koji pitch for the Red Sox probably won’t take away from my particular enjoyment of his unique brand of excellence. The first, second, and third time he sets the Blue Jays down in order during a tense 8th inning at Fenway will sting a little but still, Koji! Look at the face and that swinging strike rate – who could stay mad at such beauty? No friend of mine, that much is for sure.