While some of the new White Sox have gotten off to rocky starts as the team’s stumbled a bit out of the gate, one new addition had a situational debut that was about as impressive as it gets.
New White Sox closer David Robertson was handed a one-run lead in the ninth inning of Saturday’s game against the Twins, his first save situation as a member of the team. He faced three batters and struck them all out, securing a 5-4 win for the White Sox, their first victory of the season.
“I’m here to protect the lead and finish off ballgames,” Robertson said after the game. “It’s the first time we’ve had a lead in the ninth, and I definitely had some adrenaline going. We want to give the fans reason to come out here and watch us so I wanted to help us get the win.”
Pretty straight-forward stuff from Robertson, who was brought over this offseason after a 39-save season with the Yankees.
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But trying to hit him was anything but straight forward for unfortunate Twins batters Chris Herrmann, Shane Robinson and Jordan Schafer, the bottom of the order for Minnesota. They struck out three times on a combined 15 pitches in the top of the ninth.
It was a dominant performance from a closer who was acquired to be just that: dominant.
“Unbelievable,” Jeff Samardzija said. “He’s sharp. I chalk it up as how flexible he is. He gets down that mound. His stuff’s so late. His cutter moves late, his curveball moves late and as a starter I cant think of a better thing to have than a shutdown closer.”
Robin Ventura used the word “devastating.”
“I think there is some adrenaline with coming in the ninth inning,” Ventura said. “That’s the best inning he’s had even in spring training of just stuff and curve ball. He hadn’t really worked on his curve ball as much or showed it off as much in the spring. It’s a devastating pitch. It’s good to see.”
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The White Sox were certainly in need of a strong ninth-inning option, too, after the struggles of last year. South Side pitchers had an ugly 4.48 ERA in save situations last season. So far in 2015, that number is 0.00.
You can chalk it up to adrenaline or the bottom of the Twins order. Robertson even mentioned the benefit of the shadows at that time of day at U.S. Cellular Field. But like the rest of the White Sox on Saturday, it seemed as if Robertson was just going to do everything he could to make sure the team’s season-opening losing streak stopped at four.
He turned in an eye-popping effort to make sure that the White Sox got their first win of the year.
“I was feeling really good,” he said. “We finally had a lead and a chance to get in the win column, and I wasn’t going to let it slip away.”