If there was an injury to sum up the 2015 Red Sox season it was the latest with Koji Uehara.
The Red Sox closer took a line drive off the wrist on a come-backer for the final out of the Red Sox’ 7-2 win over the Tigers Friday night. He returned to Boston for more tests on Sunday and on Monday it was revealed the 39-year-old would be out for the rest of the season with a fractured wrist.
The biggest problem for Uehara and the Red Sox – he shouldn’t have even been in the game to begin with.
With a five-run lead in the ninth inning things seemed safe, but Justin Masterson struggled in the inning and the Sox needed Uehara to come in and close the door.
Uehara had been the Red Sox’ most dependable reliever to this point in the season as even Junichi Tazawa has struggled of late. For the season, Uehara is 2-4 with a 2.23 ERA in 43 games.
Although it isn’t the insane 1.09 ERA he posted in 2013, 2.23 is very respectable. The question is now what is Uehara’s future?
He will be 40-years-old next season and is under contract with the team, as they signed him to a two-year deal last offseason. Some had thrown around the idea of the team dealing him at the deadline, but that thought is over with him now injured and done for the season.
With no closer in waiting for the Red Sox, there’s a good chance Uehara returns to the team as the closer next year. The only downside is his dependability with him turning 40 years old and not finishing the year each of the last two seasons, although this year certainly wasn’t health related as he had no way of stopping the line drive.
In the short-term the question for the Red Sox is, who is the closer? Tazawa admitted in early 2013 he wasn’t comfortable in that role so it likely wouldn’t be him. The likely option would be Jean Machi who the Red Sox traded for late last month prior to the trade deadline.
Machi certainly isn’t a player you’d like to have closing games, but with the Red Sox in the state that they are and seemingly with no shot at the postseason, it doesn’t matter all that much in the grand scheme of things.
With nothing seemingly going right for the Red Sox, even from the start with the busts of free agent signings, poor starting pitching, under performing hitters, the Uehara injury is a microcosm for the entire year.
Their closer and best reliever, done for the year in a game he should have never should been in.