White Sox

White Sox closer David Robertson: 'I need to pick it up'

White Sox closer David Robertson: 'I need to pick it up'

KANSAS CITY -- David Robertson said an injury that sidelined him for 11 days in July has had no impact on his recent struggles.

If anything, the White Sox closer has felt good from a physical standpoint even as he has amassed a 7.36 ERA in his last 11 innings pitched. In that span, Robertson -- who didn’t pitch from July 7-17 because of a leg injury that occurred right before the All-Star break -- has blown four of eight save tries, including the past two games against the Kansas City Royals. Robertson, who converted 23 of his first 25 save chances this season, said he simply hasn’t been able to make the same kind of outpitches that he consistently has throughout his career.

“I’m in bad counts right out of the gate,” Robertson said. “Then I feel like whenever it’s time to make the quality pitch to get the out, I’m not making it. It’s frustrating for me because my whole career I’ve been able to escape jams. Whenever I make a mistake, I’ve been able to get out of it.

“It seems like it’s coming back to bite me in the ass. I can’t seem to get out of one lately.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]​

Robertson has walked five batters in his last 11 innings and has issued 4.75 walks per nine this season, his highest total since 2011. His career mark is 3.64 walks per nine innings.

Another noticeable difference is the damage hitters have done against him over the last month. From the start of the season to July 17, opposing hitters had a .163 slugging percentage when Robertson threw his curveball and a .369 slug against his cut-fastball. Only two of the first 164 hitters Robertson faced this season hit home runs.

Starting with his July 18 appearance, batters have a .556 slugging percentage when Robertson throws a curve and .652 versus the cutter. He has also allowed four homers in a span of 41 batters.

Pitching coach Don Cooper thinks perhaps Robertson’s delivery angle is the culprit.

“The only thing with David is he can get his angle too high,” Cooper said. “Last year when he wasn’t good, he got his angle too high, which did not allow the ball to cut as freely, didn’t allow the curve to curve as freely.”

Robertson said the only adjustment he has made is with where he sets his hands when he comes set. Meanwhile, the White Sox intend to keep Robertson, who is in the second season of a four-year, $46-million deal, as their closer. White Sox manager Robin Ventura said the team absolutely believes Robertson will rebound.

“(The role is) not going to change,” Ventura said. “Regardless if it’s him or (Nate Jones) in the eighth, you have to find somebody else to do it at some point. We’ve used these guys quite a bit so that is always the possibility of doing that. But not out of just sending him out of the ninth inning.”

Though disappointed by the past three weeks, Robertson is also confident his season will turn around.

“I’m not pitching the way I should be,” Robertson said. “I’m not attacking the zone and staying on the corners and keeping guys off balance. I feel like they are a little comfortable in the box on me. Walks are hurting me as well. I just have to pick up my game and start pitching better.

“I’m going to get more opportunities so at some point it’s going to turn for me and hopefully I’ll get on a roll. Right now I’ve been doing a poor job out there and I need to pick it up.” 

White Sox Talk Podcast: The all-request, whatever's on your mind episode


White Sox Talk Podcast: The all-request, whatever's on your mind episode

In this special bonus episode, we opened up the podcast to our favorite people: you the White Sox fan!

You asked the questions and we answered them!

Who will be the White Sox closer in 2020? Can Avi Garcia be an effective #2 hitter? Who will be the Nicky Delmonico of 2018? Who has been the biggest surprise at spring training?  There are questions about Adam Engel, Ryan Cordell, Carson Fulmer, Yoan Moncada, as well as Roger Bossard, Mike Ditka and Rocky Biddle.

We also give away a signed Freddy Garcia baseball from 2005.   

Take a listen here or in the embedded playlist below.

White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the Toronto Blue Jays?


White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the Toronto Blue Jays?

As the 2018 season nears and the White Sox get ready to take on the rest of the American League, we're taking a team-by-team look at all 14 of their opponents.

What’s there to know about the Toronto Blue Jays?

They seem to have missed their window.

Living on a lighted stage approaches the unreal, they say. And it did there for the Jays for a while, too, as they made back-to-back trips to the American League Championship Series. Those teams were fun. They hit a lot of homers. They flipped a lot of bats. We all got to watch Geddy Lee keep score on national TV. Good times.

Well, the good times haven’t lasted, and the Jays again seem to be on the outside looking in of an AL East race that figures to feature the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox and no one else.

Jays fans have had to say a farewell to kings in the past two offseasons, with two of the biggest engines of those ALCS teams, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista, no longer with the team. Encarnacion is entering Year 2 with the Cleveland Indians. Jose Bautista would like to be a working man, but he’s still watching the tumbleweeds roll by on the deserted plains of this offseason’s free-agent market.

Sure, Josh Donaldson is still around, a modern-day warrior with a mean, mean stride and a mean, mean swing, too. The same can be said for Justin Smoak, who teamed with Donaldson to mash a combined 71 homers last season. But are the dipped numbers of Kevin Pillar and Ryan Goins and the increasing ages of Russell Martin, Kendrys Morales and Curtis Granderson giving anyone in the Great White North great confidence in this lineup? Even the two imports from the St. Louis Cardinals, Randal Grichuk and Aledmys Diaz, couldn’t reach base at a .300 clip last season.

The best news for the Jays might be what’s going on 60 feet, six inches away from home plate — excuse me, 18.4404 metres from home plate. Marcus Stroman might start the campaign on the disabled list, but he’s still really good after posting a 3.09 ERA last season. J.A. Happ was good last year. Marco Estrada was OK. And the Jays added Jaime Garcia this offseason, who isn’t a blockbuster newcomer, but he managed 129 strikeouts in 157 innings last season while pitching for three different teams.

Is any of that enough for the Jays to compete this season? To get closer to the heart of the AL East race? No probably not, but it’s really up to you to decide. And remember that if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

I’m out of applicable Rush lyrics, so let’s just move this along.

2017 record: 76-86, fourth place in AL East

Offseason additions: Curtis Granderson, Randal Grichuk, Aledmys Diaz, Yangervis Solarte, Jaime Garcia, Seung hwan Oh, Tyler Clippard, John Axford

Offseason departures: Jose Bautista, Miguel Montero, Darwin Barney, Dominic Leone

X-factor: The Jays had one of baseball's better closers last season in Roberto Osuna. He's had that job for a while now and has racked up 95 saves in his three big league seasons, including 36 and 39 in 2016 and 2017, respectively. His ERA was a career-high 3.38 last season, but he finished more games than any other pitcher in baseball and struck out a career-high 83 batters in 64 innings.

Projected lineup:

1. Curtis Granderson, LF
2. Devon Travis, 2B
3. Josh Donaldson, 3B
4. Justin Smoak, 1B
5. Russell Martin, C
6. Kendrys Morales, DH
7. Randal Grichuk, RF
8. Kevin Pillar, CF
9. Aledmys Diaz, SS

Projected rotation:

1. Marcus Stroman
2. J.A. Happ
3. Aaron Sanchez
4. Marco Estrada
5. Jaime Garcia

Prediction: Fourth place in AL East, no playoffs

Catch up on the AL:

Oakland Athletics
Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners
Los Angeles Angels
Houston Astros
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays

Catch up on the NL:

San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco Giants