BOSTON – Koji Uehara wasn’t Boston’s first choice to be closer this season.

Or the second.

The 38-year-old right-hander got the job after Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey were injured. But since inheriting the ninth-inning role for the Red Sox in late, June Uehara has been everything the Red Sox could have wanted.

He saved 21 of 24 opportunities in the regular season and all five in the playoffs. He had three saves and a win in the four victories over the Detroit Tigers that put the Red Sox into the World Series, earning the AL Championship Series MVP.

The World Series starts Wednesday in Boston. The Red Sox will play the St. Louis Cardinals in a rematch of the 1946, 1967 and 2004 Series.