CLEVELAND — David Robertson joined Bobby Thigpen (1988-91), Bobby Jenks (2006-08) and Keith Foulke (2000-01) as the only White Sox closers to record consecutive seasons with 30 or more saves when he nailed down a 10-7 victory over the Cleveland Indians Wednesday.
“It’s a nice number to put on paper but I’d rather finish the year at 95 percent or 100 percent of times I take the ball in saves situations,’’ said Robertson, who is haunted by his six blown saves, which, through Wednesday, gave him an 83 percent success rate. “It just sucks when you blow games, the team takes a loss and you lose somebody’s hard earned game. That’s the tough part for me. I just want to be dependable.’’
Robertson signed a $46 million contract as a free agent after he saved 39 games in his first season as Yankees closer in 2014. He was the Yankees setup man for Mariano Rivera before that, a role he says is just as pressure-filled as closing.
But closing is a different animal.
“It’s fun when you’re doing great,’’ Robertson said. “It sucks when you suck.’’
After the Sox rallied for five runs in the ninth against Indians closer Cody Allen, bringing Cleveland’s record in games they’ve led after eight innings to 62-1, Robertson brought the tying run to the plate by allowing a leadoff walk and a single.
“I guess I got in a funk, kind of lost it for a second and got it figure out again,’’ Robertson said. “I just need some added pressure on myself to make myself throw the ball right. Got through it. Wasn’t an easy day to be a reliever.’’
Setback for Lawrie
Second baseman Brett Lawrie appeared to be wrapping up his minor league rehab assignment at AA Birmingham when he left a game Wednesday with a quad injury, Ventura said. Lawrie is listed as having a hamstring strain but Ventura said Lawrie’s knee was also an issue.
Lawrie’s setback means more time at second base for Tyler Saladino, and likely more 25-man roster time for infielder Carlos Sanchez.
The Sox have lost five of the last six games ace Chris Sale has started since July 2, a period in which the five-time All-Star left-hander has pitched to a 4.43 ERA. But it has nothing to do with fatigue, manager Robin Ventura said.
“Since he’s been starting [in 2012] this is the best and strong as he’s been later in the season than I’ve seen him any time,’’ Ventura said.
As good as Sale’s three-pitch repertoire is, perhaps hitters and opposing hitting coaches are getting smarter about plans of attack against him. Ventura kind of suggested as much.
“It’s a little tougher with technology that’s out there to kind of pick somebody apart,’’ Ventura said, “whether it’s counts, what pitches they’re throwing, watching video, head-to-head [familiarity]. And it’s hard. That’s the difficult part of [even the best pitchers] sustaining that for so long.’’
This and that
Justin Morneau’s three-run double off the left-field wall gave the Sox and left-hander Carlos Rodon an early cushion Thursday.
*Rookie catcher Omar Narvaez made his fifth start of the nine-game road trip.
*The Sox open a nine-game homestand with James Shields facing the Oakland A’s Friday. Shields, who will make his 14th start for the Sox since being acquired in a trade with the San Diego Padres, has been roughed up for 21 runs over his last three starts, covering 9 1/3 innings and allowing six home runs while striking out only two.
*Anthony Ranaudo, who gave up five runs in four innings in his second start for the Sox Wednesday, will get another start in place of Miguel Gonzalez (disabled list, groin), Ventura said.