White Sox

White Sox: David Robertson unleashes his repertoire

davidrobertsontylerflowers4-11.png

White Sox: David Robertson unleashes his repertoire

David Robertson had the look of a $46 million closer Saturday afternoon.

The 30-year-old right-hander struck out the side to close out the White Sox first win of the season, a 5-4 victory over Minnesota. But the way Robertson worked the Twins served as a reminder of why the White Sox shelled out a pricey four-year deal to him over the winter.

[MORE: New faces rally White Sox to win over Twins]

Robertson needed only 15 pitches to blow through the back of the Twins’ order, generating seven swinging strikes against Chris Herrmann, Shane Robinson and Jordan Schafer. He threw eight curveballs and seven cutters, and mixed those pitches well:

(Graph via BrooksBaseball.net)

In alternating between his looping mid-80’s curveball and sharp mid-90’s cutter, Robertson was able to expand the strike zone by changing the eye level of Twins hitters. Having the late shadows on his side certainly helped, too.

[MORE: Carlos Rodon strikes out nine in season debut]

By starting his curveball high and having it drop into the lower third of the strike zone or out of the strike zone, those high cutters turned out to be nearly impossible to hit.

“It’s misleading on (hitters) whenever they see the ball coming out of your hand,” Robertson said. “They can’t tell exactly where it’s going to be in the strike zone or if it’s going to be in the strike zone at all.”

(Graph via BrooksBaseball.net)

“I’ve tried to hit (him) before and it’s pretty challenging,” catcher Tyler Flowers said. “I think what really sets it up is the ability to throw the cutter to both sides of the plate and especially elevating the cutter. He does a really good job of that. That plays to the curveball of them trying to chase it. It also plays to after the curveball, the hesitation on the cutter up and guys being tardy on that.”

Robertson’s spring training numbers weren’t good — an 8.10 ERA with four strikeouts, five walks and two home runs allowed in 6 2/3 innings — but he never was concerned. The longtime Yankees reliever didn’t throw many curveballs in Cactus League games, deciding to not tax his arm with a pitch he didn’t feel the need to show much.

[MORE: Kenny Williams, Ozzie Guillen's troubles a thing of the past]

But in his first save opportunity with the White Sox, Robertson’s full arsenal was on display — and Minnesota couldn’t do anything with it.

“The only concern was everybody else here who was like wow, you stink, it’s spring and you can’t get anybody out,” Robertson said with a grin. “… I just needed to get out of Arizona and get into an atmosphere that actually counted.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Rick Hahn gives an update on the state of the White Sox rebuild

hahn-pod.jpg
USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Rick Hahn gives an update on the state of the White Sox rebuild

In this episode of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, Danny Parkins (670 The Score), Chris Bleck (ESPN 1000) and Scott King (WGN Radio) join David Kaplan on the panel.

Ryan Pace’s offseason begins. Josh Sitton and Jerrell Freeman are gone, but what will he do with Kyle Fuller?

Plus, Rick Hahn joins Kap from Glendale, Ariz., to discuss the state of the White Sox rebuild, how tough it is to keep their best prospects in the minors and why Jose Abreu is so important for his young team?

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

White Sox Talk Podcast on The Three Amigos: Jimenez, Robert and Adolfo

eloy-pod.jpg
USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast on The Three Amigos: Jimenez, Robert and Adolfo

The White Sox three outfield prospects are creating a lot of buzz at spring training.

On this edition of the podcast, Micker Adolfo tells Chuck Garfien about a conversation they all had about one day becoming the starting outfield for the White Sox. Adolfo talks about his longtime friendship with Eloy Jimenez, his impressions of Luis Robert, Luis Basabe and the White Sox future.

But first, it's a conversation with MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez who has great insight on many of the White Sox players: Jimenez, Robert, Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu. He tells an amazing story about why Jimenez decided to sign with the Cubs when he was a teenager, how much Abreu is revered in Cuba and much more.

Listen to the full episode at this link (iOS users can go here) or in the embedded player below. Subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.