I received the following e-mail from a male friend a minute ago: "Still developing the man-crush on Oki." I have to say that I can't blame him.
On the season, Hideki Okajima has thrown 12.2 innings and struck out 17 batters. That's a remarkable 75 inning/106 K pace for the season. Most Yankee relievers are on pace for 100+ innings and 1 torn rotator cuff.
Looking deeper at Oki's stats show how dominant he's been: a 0.63 WHIP, .116 BAA, 0.71 ERA and a stunning 17:3 K:B ratio. He also doesn't discriminate - righties and lefties are equally inept against him. Righties sport a .358 OPS and lefties a .393. Solid. He's only throwing 14.7 pitches per inning. 11 straight appearances without a run allowed since Opening Day, when he allowed his only run of the year.
I hope we're talking about Oki at the All-Star break like we were about Papelbon last year. This bullpen has the potential to be one of the greatest of all-time.