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  • Robertson is Ready for his Role

    On Thursday, the Minnesota Twins got a big 8-2 win over the Detroit Tigers to improve to 2-1 on the season, the first time they have been over .500 since the 2010 season. However, the game was not the blowout that the final score would indicate. In fact, there was a very key moment in the 7th inning that could have altered the results of the game.

    With the Twins leading 3-2 going into the 7th frame, Josh Roenicke walked Omar Infante and gave up a double to Austin Jackson to put runners on first and second with nobody out. He struckout Torii Hunter for the first out and then was asked to intentionally walk Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera to load the bases. Prince Fielder was coming up, and left-hander Tyler Robertson was coming in.

    On Monday, before the Opening Day game against the Tigers, I had the opportunity to talk to Robertson. I asked him about his role, and specifically asked if he was looking forward to a role in which he needed to come in to face a Prince Fielder in a key situation. His response?

    ďIíll do whatever they have me do. Prince is obviously a tough hitter. I think Iíve faced him 5-6 times last year and he got me once. Iím confident against anybody. I know if I execute my pitches, Iíll be fine. Heís just one of the guys that you really have to be careful with and make sure you execute because if you donítÖĒ

    I butted in by saying, ďYouíll see what happens.Ē

    And Robertson chuckled and said, ďYeah, Iíve seen what happens! On the other hand, weíve had some good at bats where I made some good pitches and I got him. Hopefully me and him are battling for a long time. Iíd like that. Iím up for the challenge.Ē

    On Thursday, in his first appearance of the season, Robertson was up to the challenge.

    Last June 26, a 24-year-old Robertson made the jog in from the Target Field bullpen to the mound for his Major League debut against the Chicago White Sox. The first batter he faced was outfielder Alejandro de Aza, and he struck him out. He then struckout Kevin Youklis looking. Finally, he was able to strike out the side when he got Adam Dunn to swing and miss. Robertson looked back at the memory fondly.

    ďIt was unbelievable. I got here the day before. Got kind of settled in, but I knew the nerves were still going to be there until I actually got out there on the mound. I was confident going in. I was going pretty good in AAA. I knew that if I threw like I was throwing down there, I was going to be fine. Itís definitely not easy up here. This is the best of the best. It was reassuring to know that you can do it. You always believe you can do it, but until you actually see that you can do it. You just prove it to yourself.Ē

    Was that the biggest thing he learned from that rookie season?

    ďYeah, without a doubt. I mean, there was a lot of other things I learned about hitters up here and certain teamsí tendencies and all that stuff. But the biggest thing was, it doesnít matter what level youíre pitching at, itís confidence. You can have confidence up here and throw the ball in the minor leagues for the most part, Iíll be just fine.Ē

    There was no question that Robertson was thrilled to make the Twins Opening Day roster and happy to experience his first Opening Day.

    ď(Iím) just really excited. I mean, I think the nerves got out a little bit last year with making the debut and being up here for a little while. That was just pure excitement. Iím ready to go. Itís going to be fun to get the season rolling.Ē

    It was fun picking his brain about his thoughts on facing tough lefties, like Fielder. What pitches does he throw and why? He provided a little bit of insight:

    ďWhen I came up here last year, it (the slider) was going really good at the time. It was a little bit of a blessing and a curse because it was a good pitch for me up here, but I think I probably overused it a little bit because it was working so well. In ST, one of the things I did, especially against the lefties, I was mixing in more fastballs. In spring, I had a little success with it, left-on-left, mixing in the fastball. Guys were swinging at a lot more first pitches so I couldnít do it left-on-left, probably didnít want to get too deep into the count. I got more swings at fastballs earlier in the count, which is fine. Iím going to need to throw that more to set up the breaking ball and everything. I know that, and Iím confident in my fastball to do that left-on-left. Itís something I did in 2010 a lot when I was closing in AA. Shoot, I faced 5 lefties over a span of time and didnít even throw a slider, so I feel comfortable throwing a fastball to them. I know Iím going to need to do that. Obviously the sliderís always going to be in the back of my mind, but that will help my fastball out if I can show a few more fastballs. Just got to keep it balanced. If theyíre 100% sitting on slider, I mean, I can throw the best one Iíve got and it wonít be as effective.Ē

    The life of a relief pitcher is filled with ups and downs. When they do their job well, not everybody notices. When they donít do their job well, everybody notices.

    On Thursday, he entered the Twins/Orioles game in the 8th inning with a tied game and the red-hot Chris Davis up to bat. Unfortunately for the Twins, on this day, the hitter won. Davis hit a grand slam that made a 5-5 game a 9-5 game in a hurry.

    Such is the role of a reliever. Robertson played hero on Wednesday, and he gets to play the goat on Thursday. Itís a tough job, and Tyler Robertson is more than happy to do it for the Twins.
    This article was originally published in blog: Robertson is Ready for his Role started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 25 Comments
    1. Ultima Ratio's Avatar
      Ultima Ratio -
      Perfect timing to post this, right after giving up the grand slam. Not impressed.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      I would have tabled this one... gonna be a lot of unhappy campers commenting below.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Fair or not....he's the guy who gives up big home runs in my eyes. That's all I can see him as, stats or not.
    1. h2oface's Avatar
      h2oface -
      NOT so ready, it would seem after today.
    1. DedunoTheMuffinMan?'s Avatar
      DedunoTheMuffinMan? -
      He blew it!
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Perhaps his role is: somewhere else?
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      Robertson needs to get more than half of the key batters out to keep a job. Nice job against Prince, not so much against Davis.
    1. The Wise One's Avatar
      The Wise One -
      A lot of people would appear to be quick to pull a trigger. Yep Robertson gave up a homer to a lefty. Deal with and move on. Last year he was good against the lefties. Since it was the 8th, why wasn't Burton in there?
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Burton was not available.

      Why Perkins was not in there is the better question...

      I believe that Robertson will be ok, but the timing of this post is very unfortunate...
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      The older I get, the more convinced I become that timing is the key to life. Chalk up another small but significant piece of evidence.
    1. GCTF's Avatar
      GCTF -
      If his role is to give up grand slams to lefties he is more than ready.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      I wasn't thrilled to have him on the team and I still am not.
    1. mako83's Avatar
      mako83 -
      When is swarzie getting back. At least Chris Davis is on all my fantasy teams
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      thrylos pointed this out in ST--Robertson seems to have lost some velo. 86 mph from a reliever is certainly below average especially for a big guy like him. Didn't he throw in the low 90s?
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      I dunno. Looked at a replay in the bar earlier and it didn't look like a terrible pitch. Sometimes a good hitter wins the battle. Get 'em tomorrow.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Quote Originally Posted by stringer bell View Post
      thrylos pointed this out in ST--Robertson seems to have lost some velo. 86 mph from a reliever is certainly below average especially for a big guy like him. Didn't he throw in the low 90s?
      Fangraph's says his FB was at 88-89 last year.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      I had written this early this morning. Had the quotes all set up and ready to print. Went to lunch. Then went to the ballpark. Got the picture ready to add, then went down to the field to watch early groundballs, to watch infield, batting practice and a couple of bullpens. Talked to some people. Went upstairs and was about to hit post when the Cedar Rapids Gazette reporter there told me that someone had given up a grand slam and now the Twins were down by four. I asked who, partially knowing who he would say. Yup, I was right.

      But, the article was written and ready to go. I just updated the end a little bit, and it's all still true. He'll be fine.

      When Jim Crikket and I just went out to grab some food after tonight's Cedar Rapids game, I saw the pitch, and it was a fastball just off the outside corner. Chris Davis just happens to be the hottest hitter in baseball through four games. No worries.
    1. fairweather's Avatar
      fairweather -
      LOL! Anyway he shouldn't have made the team.
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      Imagine how good Tyler Robertson would be if he just had good posture. His stride would lengthen by over a foot, and his fastball would speed up by 4 mph. Right now, his tail bone is tucked under. This does several bad things. It eliminates his ability to rotate his hips to get much more power from his stride, it decreases his lung capacity, it disallows him from separating his drive leg from his torso. The result: he's an arm thrower with severely reduced leg drive, limited to one inning against lefties.

      Learn better posture, Tyler Robertson. Pee straight down.
    1. h2oface's Avatar
      h2oface -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      He'll be fine.
      Bold stance. I don't know that he has ever been "fine" yet, and now his fastball velocity is down to 85-86. Time will tell..........
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