OAKLAND — His arm is fine, but David Robertson can’t say the same for his vocal chords.
As their closer had thrown four times in five days, including a shaky, 27-pitch save on Wednesday, the White Sox elected to rest Robertson in Friday’s 7-6 victory over the Oakland A’s.
Not only did Robertson, who signed a four-year, $46-million contract in December, have Thursday off, he was nowhere to be found in the ninth inning on Friday with the White Sox nursing a one-run lead, which set off a social-media frenzy.
Zach Duke earned a four-out save for the White Sox, though it took an incredible 8-6-3-5-2 relay on the game’s final play to close it out. Robertson — who said he made himself available in an emergency — watched the game-ending play on Coco Crisp’s double unfold as Stephen Vogt was thrown out trying to score the tying run from first.
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“My voice is strained from screaming because it was so exciting when we got the third out,” Robertson said late Friday. “It was an incredible ending to a game. Duke’s a veteran pitcher, and he knows what he’s doing out there, nothing he hadn’t seen before.”
Whereas last season the White Sox had closer issues most of the way, this year they feel a little more confident about their overall group. A team that blew 21 of 57 saves last season believes it can rely on others in 2015 to properly rest everyone.
So when Robertson labored on Wednesday in Milwaukee, the White Sox made the decision to give him two days. Robertson — who missed time in spring with a sore forearm — threw 70 pitches over the four outings and allowed three runs.
“We knew going into it that we had the off day yesterday and we wanted to give him one more,” manager Robin Ventura said. “We kinda had to patch it in there and figure it out. Once we got back into it we knew there were some guys that would come in there in the ninth.”
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Duke earned four outs for his second career save and first since July 24, 2011. Dan Jennings got back on track when he recorded five outs ahead of Duke, and Scott Carroll earned the victory with two-plus innings of relief.
“The fact we were able to get (Robertson) an extra day is nice,” Duke said. “Anytime we can help each other out and cover innings for each other is a big bonus.”
Not only do the White Sox feel confident about Duke, they’ve seen Jake Petricka and Zach Putnam handle the role. Last season, the two right-handers combined to convert 20 of 25 save opportunities, including six of seven by Putnam, who was warm in the ninth.
“It worked out tonight,” Robertson said. “These are great athletes, great pitchers. They’ve done it before, and they can handle it again. There’s going to be days where everyone else has to pick someone up, that’s just part of being in the bullpen.”