Koji Uehara put together one of the greatest pitching performances of all time during the 2013 season, but in a year filled with superb starting pitching performances, finished seventh in the American League Cy Young Award race.
Tigers starter Max Scherzer won in a landslide. Uehara finished with one second-place vote and two third-place votes.
Uehara, 38, posted the best WHIP (0.57) in Major League history among those with at least 50 innings. He held hitters to a .129 average, second best in history. He also posted an 11.22 strikeout-to-walk ratio (fifth best all time) and a 1.09 ERA (21st all time).
At one point this season, Uehara retired 37 batters in a row.
With a split-finger fastball that seemed to defy the laws of physics (catcher David Ross deemed it the invisi-ball, saying it was "Bugs Bunny stuff"), Uehara saved 21 games in the regular season and seven in the postseason, tying a record for a single postseason. He was named the MVP of the AL Championship Series.
While Uehara finished seventh overall in the voting with 10 points, he received more points than Royals closer Greg Holland (four points), who was the only other reliever to receive votes.
The last reliever to win the AL Cy Young Award was Dennis Eckersley in 1992. Eckersley had a 1.91 ERA with an 8.45 strikeout-to-walk ratio while serving as closer for the Oakland A's.
Manager John Farrell said early in the offseason that he expects Uehara to open the 2014 season as the Red Sox's closer.