The Worst Yankees Nightmare

Robertson blows save and Yankees lose 4-1

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    What goes up must come down.

    The good news is that part of being a closer is having a short enough memory to bounce back from a bad outing to save the next one.

    We'll now get a chance to find out if David Robertson can do that because he blew his first save as Mariano Rivera's replacement on Wednesday night. Robertson entered the game with a 1-0 lead, loaded the bases in six pitches and then watched the game float away on a sacrifice fly and a three-run home run by Matt Joyce.

    While many people like to talk about whether or not some pitcher has the mentality it takes to be a closer and will therefore panic about Robertson's fitness, it's not like this was a very typical Robertson outing. It was the first home run Robertson has given up to a lefty in almost two years and the first runs of any kind he's allowed since last August.

    It was also a very typical Robertson outcome, though. Robertson has prospered because of a Houdini-like ability to escape from troubled situations that are often similar to those of Wednesday night -- he escaped a very similar one on Tuesday night, in fact -- because they are of his own making.

    As many a fish would tell you if they could speak and were still alive, there comes a point when you can't wriggle off the hook in time to save your life. Robertson hit that point in the ninth inning against the Rays and the Yankees were 4-1 losers as a result.

    People like little less than blown saves, especially when the guy blowing them isn't Rivera. If this were a slightly different sports landscape, the radio would be full of calls for Rafael Soriano and the papers full of long columns about how we never knew just how lucky we were to have Rivera pitching in the ninth inning even though they had all written how lucky we were to have Rivera pitching in the ninth inning just a week ago when he got hurt.

    Yes, the best thing Robertson did was to have his luck run out on the same night as losses by the Knicks and Rangers. That means the back pages are spoken for and, judging by the sparse crowd at the Stadium, it means that fans' attention isn't focused on the Yankees with the intensity of a million suns.

    Given the state of the starting rotation and a lineup that still hasn't found its stride, the last thing the Yankees need to put on the agenda is dealing with the bullpen. One blown save isn't going to do that, but it's not going to take too many more before the natives start getting restless about life without Mo in the ninth inning.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.