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After seeing Mariano go down, in the outfield in Kansas City, everyone knew that the job would be David Robertson’s. He was red hot, surrendering no runs for seemingly a year, and simply lights out as Rivera’s setup man. Then the Rays come to town, an important, early season series, and in game one it was Robertson’s first save opportunity as the full time closer presented itself. It
didn’t come easy. Giving up a hit and two walks Robertson was forced to fight his way out of a bases loaded jam to earn the save. Crisis averted. The next night he wouldn’t be so lucky.
Finding himself in a bases loaded jam again, Robertson’s magic disappeared and he looked human again, giving up four earned runs on three hits and a walk. Any comparisons to Mariano were not fair, the shoes he had to fill were pretty big, and he wasn’t going to save every game. It stung though that it was to the Rays, and that the Yanks had led most of the game, hanging on by a slim lead. I don’t know if it would have been worse to have it be to the Twins.
Since that game Robertson has pitched two thirds of an inning against the Mariners. Against the O’s in a save opportunity, Robertson wasn’t called upon, former closer and Yankees seventh inning guy Rafael Soriano came in and closed the door. Closer by committee? I hope not. Maybe it’s because I was spoiled but closer by committee situations rarely work out well. If it was a short term fix I wouldn’t have a problem but Rivera is not coming back this year, so finding someone who can end a game is crucial.
I am just curious if that blown save rattled the young kid. Sure he has pitched for a couple seasons in the majors, but being a closer take a different mindset, and a certain type of guy to be successful. Not everyone can sit out in the bullpen for 8 innings then get their arm warm and come in and pitch three extremely stressful outs, sometimes more. Maybe he is not a good fit at the spot, but only one blown save before making that call seems to be a bit premature.
If Soriano gets the nod as the full time guy, he will do fine. He was great for the Rays a couple years back. But I think Robertson deserves a little more of a chance before we revert back to Soriano. I think Robertson’s stuff could work out great in the ninth inning. But what I really hope for the most is that Girardi picks one of the two and sticks with him, because consistency in
the ninth will only come with familiarity.