CLEARWATER, Fla. — Add David Robertson’s name to the list of pitchers who believe they were victimized by the Houston Astros’ cheating scheme in 2017.
“It’s a disgrace what they’ve done and they’re going to have to live with it and everyone knows,” Robertson said on Wednesday.
Robertson enjoyed a brilliant stretch drive for the New York Yankees in 2017. After being traded from the Chicago White Sox, he pitched in 30 games for the Yankees and allowed just four runs.
In the first two rounds of the playoffs that year, he pitched eight innings and allowed just one run.
His dominance that season ended suddenly in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series against the Astros. He entered with the Yankees down, 3-1, in the bottom of the eighth inning and was torched for four runs while failing to retire any of the four batters he faced. Jose Altuve greeted Robertson with a home run, Carlos Correa doubled, Yuli Gurriel singled and Alex Bregman stroked a two-run double. Houston rolled to a 7-1 win to tie the series and won it the next night. The Astros then beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.
Two years later, it was revealed that the Astros used an illicit, technology-based sign-stealing scheme to cheat their way to the championship.
Details of the scheme cleared up a few things in Robertson’s mind.
“I got roughed up in Game 6,” he said. “And I felt like in that game I threw as well as I’ve ever thrown in my entire life. I had some pitches that got hit that I was a little shocked by and some pitches that didn’t get swung at that I was a little shocked by. At the time, I wasn’t thinking about what we know now. But it all comes together now and, you know, I’m upset about it, that’s for sure.
“I’m never going to get 2017 back. I can’t say moving forward I’ll never get to pitch in a LCS again, but I’ll never get that season back with that group of guys and that opportunity to win a World Series.
“Like I said, I’m still upset about it. I don’t want to say something I’m going to regret but I’m definitely not happy about it.”
Robertson signed with the Phillies before the 2019 season and is currently working his way back from elbow surgery. He is expected to pitch in the second half of the season.
During his time with the Yankees, Robertson was a teammate of Carlos Beltran. Beltran played in Houston in 2017 and was one of the ringleaders of the cheating scheme. It cost him his job as manager of the New York Mets last month.
Robertson said he was surprised by Beltran’s involvement.
“I always respected him as a player, especially being a veteran player on our team when I got a chance to play with him in New York,” Robertson said. “I enjoyed the way he played and the way he went about his business. He’s got to live with it.”
Robertson was asked whether he believed the Astros’ 2017 title was tainted.
“Tough to say,” he said. “I don’t have all the facts. I don’t know which games and what times, I just know that one game I was in, I was really good and I got roughed up pretty hard. We lost every game down there and we won every game in New York. So … that being said, those are the facts I know.”
Robertson lockers just a few feet away from Francisco Liriano in the Phillies’ spring clubhouse. Liriano joined the 2017 Astros in a late-season trade with Toronto. He has heard the talk about the legitimacy of the World Series ring he won with the Astros.
“To be honest, I didn’t know anything about what was going on,” Liriano said. “So, you know, I don’t have much to say about it. I was in the bullpen. I didn’t see anything going on when I was there. I don’t have much to say about it.
“We had some great players, too. It’s just hard for me to say. Because you don’t want to be the team that was cheating to win the World Series. It’s hard for me to say what my feelings are. It’s hard. It’s hard.”
Robertson has not watched any video of the beating he took in Game 6 of the ALCS.
“I don’t want to relive it,” he said.
“I’m upset about it but I’m not going to let it ruin my life. I’m moving forward and trying to win another World Series with the Philadelphia Phillies.”