Tazawa's struggles vs. Jays continue

Tazawa's struggles vs. Jays continue
June 29, 2013, 9:45 pm
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BOSTON – For some batters there is that one pitcher they just can’t his. Same for pitchers. There’s one guy they just can’t get out.

And for some pitchers it’s like that with whole teams. Right-hander Junichi Tazawa has been one of the Red Sox most reliable relievers this season. In his last 19 appearances entering Saturday’s game, he had given up just four earned runs over 19 2/3 innings, for a 1.83 ERA. He entered the game leading all American League relievers with a 10.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 1.00 walks-per-nine innings.

But, he seems to have met his match this season in the Toronto Blue Jays.

Tazawa took the loss, falling to 4-3, Saturday afternoon as the Red Sox fell to the Jays, 6-2, at Fenway Park. He went one inning, giving up two runs on three hits, including a two-run home run by Jose Bautista that snapped a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning.

“A 2-1 split that kind of drifted back toward the middle of the plate, inner half to Bautista, and he’s obviously very good at what he did on that particular pitch,” manager John Farrell said.

But it wasn’t the first game this season in which the Jays have gotten to Tazawa. In six games against Toronto this season, spanning 5 1/3 innings, Tazawa is 1-3 with a 10.13 ERA, allowing six earned runs, eight hits, four home runs, and two walks with six strikeouts and a wild pitch. In 32 games against all other opponents he is 3-0 with a 1.17 ERA, giving up six earned runs over 31 2/3 innings, with two home runs.

“I know the fact that I’m giving up some runs against Toronto,” Tazawa said through a translator. “Maybe I’m a little bit pressing, a little bit. But I will try to get back to them.

“I don’t think it’s the lineup. They certainly do have really good hitters but I feel confident if I pitch the way that I can, I can get them out.”

“It’s been a little bit of a tough matchup for Taz against Toronto this year,” Farrell said. “They’ve gotten some balls in the middle of the plate and have done that a couple of times to him. Other than that, he’s been very solid for us late in the game.”

Tazawa has also gotten a good amount of use this season, appearing in almost half the team’s game, with 37 innings pitched in 38 appearances over the first 83 games. He leads the Sox bullpen in appearances, and entered the game tied for fifth in the American League in appearances. This was his fourth appearance, spanning four innings, in the last week, while he has warmed up in five of the last seven games. Fatigue, though, he said is not a factor.

“The team, the training staff has taken really good care of me, so I feel fine,” he said. “I’ll be ready next time.

“General fatigue, same as everybody.”

Farrell would not shy away from using Tazawa again against the Jays, taking all other game factors into consideration.

“We’re going to go with who’s available,” Farrell said.” You certainly look for the best match-ups you can, but you also have to factor in who’s available, the time of the game, who’s coming to the plate.”