David Robertson certainly has the material to work out of traffic jams on the bases. He did it again Tuesday night in the Yankees’ 3-1 win over Kansas City.
Joe Girardi brought in this asset after Freddy Garcia allowed the first two Royals to reach in the seventh. Robertson loaded the bases with a one-out walk, then got Alcides Escobar to chase a wicked curve and got Chris Getz trying to check his swing on a low-and-in curve.
So what specifically is it about the 26-year-old righty that allows him to excel after being dropped into those trouble-all-around-him situations?
“Maybe because I do it so often to him,” Girardi said, laughing. “The kid’s got good stuff. He’s got late movement on his fastball and he’s got a very good curveball. He just has the ability to do that because he’s a strikeout guy. He’s been a strikeout guy since he came up, and he just continues to do it for us.”
He isn’t always perfect in these situations, having allowed six inherited runners to score. But he has stranded the other 11.
“It’s fun to get out of them, but it’s not fun when you don’t,” Robertson said.
His own numbers are glittering so far at 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA across 15 outings. He has fanned 18 in 13 1/3 innings.
Robertson has learned how to compose himself in the middle of the chaos..
“If I’m stepping off, it’s usually because the crowds are loud,” Robertson said. “I need to calm myself down because I don’t want to become erratic. I’ve had situations where I’ve gotten too amped and made a pitch that cost me a passed ball or a wild pitch, something you don’t want to do in that situation. If you see me to step off, I’m trying to just take a second, catch my breath and get ready to deliver the pitch.”
There’s much to like about this bullpen, especially with what Robertson is doing, with Joba Chamberlain throwing consistently harder and with Mariano Rivera already owning 13 saves in 15 tries. That 13th save came in this latest game, beating by one day the earliest he had reached that mark in his Cooperstown-bound career.
Rafael Soriano, though, has hit a few bumps along the way in the eighth. Today the Yankees will see what the MRI machine reveals about his two-time surgically repaired right elbow after he reported a little soreness in it Tuesday and was unavailable.