The Yankees have been without Mariano Rivera for only 55 games and most of the time, fans have not had to worry in late-game situations with the success of David Robertson. However, the last five game have been a different story. Robertson has blown two of the last five save opportunities, most notably the ninth inning implosion in yesterday’s 7-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins. On just his first pitch of the inning, Josh Willingham took Robertson deep to tie the game at 2-2. After a strike out, Robertson walked two of the next three batters and then gave up a run-scoring double. Joe Mauer was intentionally walked before Matt Daley came in to give up a double to ex-Yankee Eduardo Nunez and cash in Robertson’s runs.
“I stunk today,” Robertson told Dan Martin of the New York Post. “What can I say? I didn’t get the job done. I just wasn’t consistent and it cost us a lot of runs and a chance to even come back in that ball game. I’m frustrated with that, absolutely. I still had to keep fighting. In my head, I kept thinking, ‘I’m a pitch away,’ but I couldn’t stop them.”
Robertson left the game to a very unfriendly booing Yankee crowd. Knowing the expectations that come with the job, the right-hander knows he needs to get back out there and prove himself again.
“I’ll try to put it behind me,” Robertson said. “We’ve got another game [Monday]. If I don’t pitch [then], I hope I get a chance the next day. I’m itching to get back out there. I want to prove I can still do this.”
Being a major league closer has its ups and downs and you certainly need a short term memory. Just ask Mariano, even he had his fair share of bad outings, sometimes back-to-back even. The most important part of the job is to learn from it and move on. With the Mariners in town, followed by a series against the Oakland A’s, Robertson will have plenty of chances to right the ship and show that he is still the closer that converted his first nine save opportunities.