June 19, 2024

In Thursday’s loss to the San Francisco Giants, the Boston Red Sox didn’t see many standout performances, but Naoyuki Uwasawa certainly caught attention.

Uwasawa, making his MLB debut, provided valuable innings on a day when other pitchers like Brennan Bernardino, Zack Kelly, and Cam Booser struggled to do so. Red Sox manager Alex Cora turned to Uwasawa in the eighth inning, and the 30-year-old delivered precisely as expected.

“Uwasawa is known for throwing strikes,” Cora explained to reporters after the game. “His fastball has good movement, not necessarily the highest velocity, maybe around 95 or 96 mph, but it has significant break, around 17 or 18 inches. He showed he belongs in the big leagues and did a commendable job of keeping the game under control.”

When Uwasawa entered the game, the Red Sox were trailing by two runs. However, he retired all six batters he faced, effectively keeping his team in contention. Although Boston ultimately suffered a loss, Uwasawa made history by becoming the first Japanese-born pitcher to throw two scoreless innings in his debut without allowing a baserunner.

Red Sox Newcomer Makes History In Big League Debut

Speaking through his translator in the postgame interview, Uwasawa acknowledged feeling nervous but expressed satisfaction with his performance. He credited his success to the work he had put in with the team on refining his splitter pitch.

Recognizing the team’s need for extended outings from him, Uwasawa emphasized his commitment to delivering quality innings whenever he takes the mound.

Boston’s pitching coach, Andrew Bailey, has consistently managed to extract solid performances from his pitchers, but Uwasawa’s debut was particularly impressive.

 

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