It wasn’t exactly an All-Star caliber performance.
The usually dependable Red Sox closer Koji Uehara could not close out a 3-1 lead against the Chicago White Sox at Fenway Park yesterday afternoon, blowing his second save of the season when he gave up a two-run homer into the right field stands to Conor Gillaspie in the ninth inning.
The Gillaspie bomb was the sixth homer off Uehara this season, and five of them have come during daytime baseball.
“I wish we could start the games later if he’s going to pitch that night,” Farrell said after yesterday’s 4-3 walkoff win. “[The home runs] have been mostly against lefties. They’ve been able to get a split early in the count and look for something soft. That was the case again with Gillaspie.”
When Uehara blew his first save against the A’s in June after giving up two homers in the ninth inning, he referenced the day-night difference.
“I’m getting hit on day games,” Uehara said through the team interpreter. “I think it’s because I’m old. I’m not woken up.”
In day games, Uehara is 3-0 with six saves and a 2.95 ERA in 18.1 innings. When the sun goes down, Uehara is 2-2 with 12 saves and a 0.71 ERA in 25.1 innings.
In the month of July, Uehara is 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA in six innings of work.
In addition to the homer to Gillaspie yesterday, Uehara has given up long balls to the A’s Stephen Vogt and John Jaso, the Twins’ Chris Parmelee, Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar, and Jays’ slugger Jose Bautista.
The 39-year-old Uehara had saved 18 games, putting up a 1.30 ERA in 40 appearances this season before Thursday’s outing.
From Aug. 17 until Sept. 17, 2013, Uehara nearly made history, retiring 37 consecutive hitters, only four short of the MLB record set by former Chicago White Sox closer Bobby Jenks.
Uehara will be traveling to Minnesota after the series in Houston this weekend where he will make his MLB All-Star Game debut, joining Sox lefty Jon Lester and manager John Farrell for the midsummer classic at Target Field on Tuesday.