He hadn’t pitched in six days, so David Robertson wasn’t surprised when Robin Ventura elected to use him in the eighth inning of Wednesday’s victory.
While multi-inning saves aren’t a normal part of the White Sox closer’s routine, it’s nothing new, either. It’s just not something Robertson has been asked to do often. While Robertson allowed an inherited runner to score on Wednesday, he also recorded the four outs needed to convert his sixth save in six tries this season. It was Robertson’s first multi-inning save converted since May 16th last season.
“Whenever (a layoff) happens, I’m prepared for four or five outs,” Robertson said. “It happens. That’s part of the gig of being in the bullpen. You have to be ready to go whenever he calls.”
Robertson attempted two multi-inning saves in 2015 and has nine attempts in his career. He blew a July 22 effort against the St. Louis Cardinals last season, but has converted seven of his nine career tries, including four of five in 2014 for the New York Yankees. Robertson’s first multi-inning save occurred as a setup man for the Yankees when he struck out three over two scoreless innings on Sept. 3, 2011.
Lots of pitchers say the most difficult part of a multi-inning appearance is trying to recreate the adrenaline that comes with the first inning. Often, pitchers enter in a tight situation as Robertson was on Wednesday when he took over with the White Sox ahead by two, two outs and runners on the corners.
Robertson has developed a routine for that second inning, though he probably didn’t need much motivation to get fired up Wednesday.
Not only did Rafael Ortega’s RBI single make it a one-run game, but Robertson had to face Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in his second inning. Trout singled but tried to advance when Todd Frazier’s throw got away from Jerry Sands only for Sands to throw him out.
Either way, Robertson feels comfortable with his mid-inning routine.
“I just try to keep my mind focused on the game,” Robertson said. “I try to stay moving around, just walking in here and taking a lap. Then turn around and come right back to the dugout. Anything to stay moving. I try to get up and keep the blood flowing. When you get out there to warm up, it’s a little easier.”
Ventura had no qualms asking Robertson to close out the game, especially since he hadn’t pitched since last Thursday against the Minnesota Twins. Robertson is the most trusted, but Ventura feels like he has many options in the White Sox bullpen. The bullpen has a 1.52 ERA through its first 15 games and 16 holds.
“A few of those guys have been a closer for us in the last few years,” Ventura said. “They’ve been put in situations that maybe aren’t as high leverage right now as they were before and you learn something from that.
“You’re looking at guys who have a little more mileage on them and that’s also mentally of being able to go in games and put it away.”