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Why one Japanese pitcher will make us forget about the other

With all the speculation going around about the Red Sox needing pitching help, I figure that I will offer that we don’t. If it comes down to it, we can make a move for bullpen help, but as far as starters to call up we have Michael Bowden and Junichi Tazawa, who are both ready to step into the rotation if need be. But as of tonight, Tazawa is the one getting the call against a young starting pitcher in Rick Porcello, and a powerful Tigers’ line-up.

So who exactly is Tazawa you’re thinking? Well, most of you will probably think back to the 15 inning affair with the Yankees and realize that he was the one who gave up the walk-off to Arod. But in reality, the 23 year-old righty from Japan is much more than that. In fact, his stuff is so promising that he might even make us forget about our other Japanese pitcher, and I’m not talking about Okajima here.

Junichi Tazawa has had excellent stuff all year, ever since the Red Sox signed him in the off-season and placed him in AA Portland. His weird arm angle and average fastball—about 93 mph—along with a slow moving curveball at around 76-79 mph has helped make him such a promising young talent for the Sox. In Portland he went 9-5 as a starter with a 2.57 ERA in 18 games, but when he got to Pawtucket, his record decreased to 0-2, but his ERA thinned to 2.38 in two starts.

So why has this young pitcher escalated through the system so quickly? Perhaps it is because of the most intriguing part of Tazawa’s game: his control. Because Tazawa does not really have an overpowering fastball, it boggles my mind how is strikeout to walk ratio is 94:27. Another good thing about Tazawa’s control is the fact that he doesn’t allow many homeruns when he pitches, everything for the most part is kept in the ballpark.

I think this is a great move for the Sox because with the John Smoltz experiment ending, another experiment is beginning—though this time I think this one will work out better. Tazawa may not have overpowering stuff, but it seems as though his command and pitching mentality are the reasons for his early success in the major league systems. As for tonight, Tazawa will get a fresh start right from the beginning instead of coming out of the pen in the 15th inning. I believe that there will be less pressure on him tonight than there was in New York and that the Fenway faithful will be behind him with plenty of support. Tazawa will become a fan favorite very quickly in Boston and I believe we will enjoy his “cheap” services—only getting $450,000 a year—for the next few years.

Good luck tonight Tazawa, I’ll be at the game hoping that you’re just what the Red Sox need to continue their journey back to the top of the A.L. East.


1 comment:

  1. Bass your the man.

    this guy is gonna turn out to be pretty good. He had a damn good outing against detroit. what impressed me most about him how how he battled back from a 3-0 deficit, and continuly pitched better. this guy could be the real thing and if he continues to pitch the way he did, he'll become a valuable asset to the sox. only time will tell...