The key to the Red Sox has been their balance. Before the season ends they could have nine hitters with 50 RBIs but nobody with 100. Outside of third base, every position on the field has provided above-average production (based on OPS+) over the course of the season.
The same is true of the starting pitching. There hasn’t necessarily been an ace but there are four starters worthy of trust.
The one big star? Try Koji Uehara.
The closer has an 0.64 WHIP and is striking out 12.2 batters per nine innings. Opponents are hitting .142 with a .442 OPS against him. Of his 850 pitches this season, 73 percent have been strikes. Thirty three of his 59 appearances have been perfect. His ERA + is a comical 348.
Check out these statistics since June 10: 34.2 IP, 11 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 46 K. He is riding a streak of 21.2 consecutive innings without giving up a run.
Uehara has been so good lately that it’s a surprise when somebody gets on base or even hits the ball hard against him.
All this from a player who reported to spring training as a middle reliever and was said to need extra rest because he was getting older.
Who’s to say how long this lasts? Uehara is in fact getting older (he’s 38) and this is the best run of his career. But the lesson here is that trading for closers (like Andrew Bailey and Joel Hanrahan) isn’t very efficient. Sometimes you just need to stumble across them.
Meanwhile, Mark Melancon has an 0.91 ERA, an 0.82 WHIP and an ERA+ of 394.