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The Boston Red Sox's 38-Year-Old Journeyman Closer Is An Unhittable God-Creature From Outer Space

Just try to get on base against Koji Uehara. We dare you.

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Most impressive of all: Uehara has retired the last 37 hitters against him — the longest streak by a reliever since 2007. He has one and a third perfect games going.

It's mostly due to a devastatingly effective split-fingered fastball that comes in around 80 mph and dips down at the last moment. Batters this month have whiffed at 22 of 53 splitters (41.5%).

And credit the Red Sox coaching staff, which has Uehara using his splitter more and more as hitters have been unable to adjust.


Maybe the best news for Red Sox fans is that he's already under contract for next season at a bargain price of $5 million, so this'll be a familiar Fenway sight for some time.

Not bad for a one-time Japanese League star. While winning 103 games over nine seasons in Japan, Uehara also pitched in the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics and the 2006 World Baseball Classic.

When the US sent an All-Star team to Japan in 2004 for an exhibition series, the future Red Sox pitcher met a Red Sox pitching legend of the past — Roger Clemens.

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