Koji Uehara named 2013 ALCS MVP

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

Koji Uehara has been named the MVP of the 2013 ALCS--a rare honor for a reliever, but completely deserved.

Koji Uehara has been named the MVP of the 2013 American League Championship Series.

It's well-deserved.

Rarely is a relief pitcher the obvious choice for an award like this, but the Red Sox were largely shut down in this series in terms of individual offensive performances. The hero of Game 2, David Ortiz, was almost no-hit outside of that one grand slam. Mike Napoli came through in both Games 3 and 5, but was likewise brutal throughout much of the series. John Lackey only pitched once, Lester took the Game 1 loss, Buchholz wasn't great...

Then you've got Koji Uehara.

The Red Sox won three one-run games, with Koji Uehara recording 12 outs in that trio of victories. He added six more in Games 1 and 6. Yes, he allowed an unusually high (for him) four baserunners in those six innings of work. No, he doesn't have quantity on his side. But he was there whenever the Red Sox needed him, for as long as they asked and, unlike so many others who had big moments, he always came through.

If the Red Sox have been a team filled with a bunch of players making big contributions without being outright top-tier stars, Koji Uehara is the one superlative. His role as a closer makes it hard for him to contribute as much pure value as some others, but in the time he has pitched he has made it look like an entirely different game. Few have ever looked quite so unhittable.

Congratulations to Koji Uehara! May you enjoy many more high fives in Boston!

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