Red Sox Closer Switch: Koji Uehara Takes Over For Andrew Bailey

Andrew Bailey struggled as the Red Sox closer.

The Red Sox closer dilemma took a turn for the worse this week as Andrew Bailey blew a save for the fourth time this season on Thursday night. Bailey gave up a crucial two-run home run to Jhonny Peralta which gave the Detroit Tigers a 4-3 comeback win over the Red Sox.

In response to Bailey’s ninth inning struggles on the mound, Red Sox manager John Farrell decided Friday that right-handed reliever Koji Uehara will now take over as the new closer.

“I can’t say there won’t be the need that we use other guys, but where we are today, Koji will close out if we get in that situation tonight,” Farrell said before Friday’s game against the Tigers. “I think we’re very confident when he walks out to the mound. He’s had success in closing opportunities, so there’s not only an element of dependability but success in the past that we’re turning to.”

The Red Sox closer move will end Bailey’s reign after finishing with eight saves in 12 opportunities. Uehara has 13 holds on the season in relief and he also has one save that came on May 17 against the Minnesota Twins.

The 38-year-old Japanese pitcher has never been a true closer, though he did finish with 13 saves in 15 opportunities in 2010 with the Baltimore Orioles.

“I’m not going to change anything,” Uehara said about the switch through his translator on Friday. “I’ll do my best about going on with my business.”

Koji Uehara was originally the Red Sox go-to set-up man this season before Farrell made the decision to move him into the closer role on Friday. The team doesn’t have many options, but Farrell is still confident in his ball club.

When Uehara needs rest or isn’t available, Farrell said he has “confidence” in Junichi Tazawa or Andrew Miller to fill-in. Do you think the Red Sox closer dilemma will hurt the club as they look to hang on to the AL East?


[Image via Keith Allison]