Junichi Tazawa has had a rough couple of months for the Red Sox, after seeing his ERA balloon from 2.60 at the end of July to 4.14 right now and blowing 5 saves in his last 15 appearances. The Red Sox have decided that enough is enough and announced Wednesday that they have shut down Tazawa for the season.
This could be a case of Tazawa’s workload becoming too much for him. For most of his tenure here, he’s been one of the most reliable options out of the pen, making the majority of his appearances as a set up man for closer Koji Uehara. If the Red Sox ever were in need of outs late in the game, Taz was always the go-to guy, and it appears all those appearances have caught up with him.
Over the Monster also points out that one of manager John Farrell’s worst habits was having him warm up, and then deciding he didn’t need him to pitch in games after all. On top of the games that he actually pitched in, the stop-and-start nature of his warm ups couldn’t have been good for his arm. Eventually, all that throwing can wear down your arm, and it appears that is the case with Tazawa, at least based on his recent appearances. He’s been pretty bad, as I mentioned above, but the Red Sox shutting him down leaves the team short in an area they already need to improve upon in the off-season.
Maybe this will end up being a good thing for Tazawa, but even if he benefits from the extra rest, the Red Sox still can’t get away with leaning on him so heavily next season, as they’ve already seen what happens when they do. The Red Sox still need to go after some bullpen help in the off-season, so they don’t end up in a scenario like this again where they have to shut someone down mid-season.
If this turns out to be good for Taz, then great, but only time will tell.