In the Yankees bullpen, Dave Robertson is kind of the fourth musketeer. He’s not the closer, he’s not the setup man, and he’s not Joba Chamberlain. That leaves him decidedly hidden in the shadows of bigger names and bolder personalities.
“I like where I’m at,” Robertson said. “I kind of slide under the radar. Just leave me there.”
On his 26th birthday, Robertson got a much deserved win this afternoon in Boston. He faced just five batters, but he retired every one of them, slamming the door shut when the Red Sox seemed to be rallying.
Ivan Nova was showing signs of cracking, then Robertson, Chamberlain and Luis Ayala became a solid wall, stopping Boston’s momentum and letting it shift decidedly in the Yankees favor.
“I thought Robby did,” Joe Girardi said of the momentum shift. “When he came in and he shut them down, then we got a couple of more runs and built our lead back up. Then Joba shuts them down, and we get another run. We kept adding on, which was important.”
Mariano Rivera and Rafael Soriano came into the season with clearly defined eighth- and ninth-inning roles, and Chamberlain has taken over the seventh. Boone Logan is the lefty, Bartolo Colon is the long man and Ayala is handling mop-up duty. That leaves Robertson.
He seems to be a kind of fire extinguisher. He’s the guy who gets ready in the middle of an inning, asked to settle a problem before it becomes a four-alarm disaster. That’s what he did today, stranding two runners in the fifth inning and setting the tone for a shutdown performance from the relievers who followed.
“It seems like that’s been my situation over the past year and a half,” Robertson said. “Since 2009 and 2010 that’s kind of where I’ve come in. I wouldn’t say I’ve gotten used to it, but I’m prepared to go into it.”