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Red Sox shouldn't use Junichi Tazawa vs. Blue Jays

Posted by Adam Kaufman  August 13, 2013 12:05 PM

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Junichi Tazawa.jpg

Don't tell me this is crazy. I already know that.

Junichi Tazawa is arguably the second-best reliever out of the Red Sox bullpen. You could make a case for Craig Breslow, I suppose, but electric closer Koji Uehara is the undisputed favorite.

But as the Sox open a 3-game series against the Blue Jays tonight, I don't want to see Tazawa anywhere near the mound. Not before Friday versus the Yankees.

The 27-year-old is having a great season. In 53 games spanning 54 innings pitched, he's 5-and-3 with a 2.50 earned-run-average. He's surrendered just 15 earned runs (16 total), a total inflated by seven home runs.

In August, Tazawa has been fantastic. His two scoreless innings against the red-hot Royals on Saturday brought his mid-month totals to 7-and-two-thirds innings, 4 hits, 7 strikeouts, no walks, and zero runs in five games. During that time, he's amassed one win and two holds.

All of that said, the man just stinks against the Blue Jays. They're his kryptonite.

This season, the set-up specialist is 1-3 in six games with a 10.13 ERA when facing his division-rival. Jays hitters are batting .364 against him with a 1.491 OPS over 5-and-a-third innings. At the Rogers Centre, he's 1-1 in three outings with an 11.57 ERA.

That means, by the way, that he's 4-0 in his other 47 contests with a 1.66 ERA. Lights. Out.

Getting back to Toronto, this year is not unique. The fourth-year pro has always struggled with the Jays.

In his career, Tazawa is 1-3 with a 5.84 ERA in 12-and-a-third innings, a string of a dozen games. Up north, he's 1-1 in four appearances with an 8.10 ERA.

The Blue Jays, despite their high hopes entering the season, are not a very good team. They're 54-64 with absolutely no chance of a postseason berth. They've lost 4 of 5 and 7 of 11. Now is a perfect time for the Red Sox to see what they've got in some of their other, younger arms.

And to stay away from Tazawa.

Follow me on Twitter at @AdamMKaufman

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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About this blog

Adam Kaufman is a writer and broadcaster who can also be heard regularly on 98.5 The Sports Hub, WBZ NewsRadio 1030, the national CBS Sports Radio Network, and broadcasting Boston College hockey games. The Massachusetts native is a Syracuse grad and a pop culture fanatic who offers a unique and entertaining look at your favorite Boston sports teams. Please don't hold his love for Jean-Claude Van Damme movies against him.

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