Tazawa makes striking strides in Red Sox bullpen

Tazawa makes striking strides in Red Sox bullpen
October 16, 2013, 6:45 pm
Share This Post

DETROIT -- The biggest out in the Red Sox' 1-0 victory over the Tigers on Tuesday night in Game 3 of the ALCS came from Junichi Tazawa, who struck out perhaps the best hitter in the game -- Miguel Cabrera -- with two on and one out in the eighth inning.

John Farrell has seen the growth of Tazawa, dating back to 2009, when he made his debut as a rookie and Farrell was the team's pitching coach.

"The biggest thing that stands out is the way the rehab from Tommy John surgery has increased his arm strength," said Farrell. "He's always been a good strike-thrower and he's always had three pitches [he can throw] for strikes. He always has been able to control the running game and he always seemingly pitches composed.

"There was no bigger moment in his career than the one [Tuesday], but more than anything, it's the increase in velocity in combination with the shorter stints [in relief] that seems to fit his physical abilities."

Tazawa is part of a bullpen which has been spectacular in the postseason, allowing just 2 runs and 12 hits in 19 1/3 innings.

"They've been very good," said Farrell. "The focus is going to be on three guys primarily (Tazawa, Craig Breslow and Koji Uehara), but still, the other guys that have come into games . . . what [Felix] Doubront did the other night, with 15 days off, or [Brandon] Workman -- they've all come in and executed extremely well.

"There was a lot made about the uncertainty before the postseason, but particularly in Taz's case, where we had to rebuild a little bit of confidence -- the more he's come in and shut off an inning, right now, he feels pretty good about himself."