NEW YORK -- Even as Koji Uehara has struggled over the last month, manager John Farrell has steadfastly resisted calls to shut down the embattled closer for the remainder of the season.
But following another disastrous ninth inning in which Uehara first allowed a game-tying homer and then a game-winning belt, Farrell seemed for the first time to be taking the suggestion under advisement.
"It will be a situation where I'll talk with Koji first,'' said Farrell after Uehara gave up homers to Mark Teixeira and Chase Headley in the bottom of the ninth, turning a one-run Red Sox lead into a 5-4 defeat to the New York Yankees. "What our plan would be -- whether that's more extended rest, whether that's the potential of shutting him down... We just walked off the field and I think out of respect to Koji and respect for what he's done for us for two outstanding years, I'm not in a position to announce that right now.''
Not long ago, Farrell acknowledged that Uehara would be used carefully for the remainder of the season, largely limited to save situations.
Uehara recently had eight days off before Farrell got him a tuneup inning Tuesday night in the first game of the series.
"And still,'' noted Farrell, "the lack of finish to his split is what allowed a couple of pitches to stay in the middle of the plate for a couple of home runs.''
Until Thursday night, Farrell seemed to rebuff the notion that Uehara was suffering from fatigue. He also maintained that there was nothing mechanically wrong with Uehara's delivery.
To a point, he stayed with that belief Thursday night.
"It's the finish (to the split-finger fastball),'' maintained Farrell, "whether it's the intensity behind the delivery of the pitch on occasion he's shown. The first one to Teixeira had good depth to it for the swing-and-miss. But the consistency to it, that's lacking.''
Uehara declined to talk with English-speaking reporters after the loss. He issued a brief statement to the Japanese media and claimed full responsibility for the defeat.
Over his last six appearances, covering just 4 2/3 innings, he's allowed 14 hits and 10 earned runs while allowing four homers and pitching to a 19.28 ERA.
Of the 10 homers he's allowed this season -- twice the number he allowed last year -- the last eight have all been hit by left-handed hitters.
"(The split) stays in the middle of the plate and typically it's down,'' offered Farrell. "Many times, it's in the middle of the natural stroke of lefthanded power hitters, and that was the case again tonight.''
Said David Ortiz of Uehara's struggles: "It's crazy, man, but that's how the game goes. Sometimes they get you, sometimes you get them.''