September 18, 2013 6:00 am
What makes Koji Uehara amazing enough to retire 37 consecutive batters?
On Tuesday, Koji Uehara allowed a baserunner. Before that, he had retired 37 batters in a row, setting a Boston record and getting within a good week of the all-time record, 45, by Mark Buehrle. Before that, he was still one of the stories of the season, a flash closer who had gone from low-leverage innings in Texas to Boston's ninth inning within a year. And before that, he was one of the most interesting pitchers in baseball, going months at a time without issuing a walk and producing historically great FIPs and the best strikeout-to-walk ratio ever.
What you probably know about Uehara is that he has excellent fastball command and a dynamite splitter. In any game he pitches, an announcer will mention his dynamite fastball command and excellent splitter. But how excellent is that fastball command? How dynamite is that splitter? And how, really, can that be enough to turn an 89-mph reliever into the American League's Craig Kimbrel?
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