It’s very unlikely David Robertson will ever forget how he recorded his 100th save.
To earn it, the White Sox closer had to endure a wild Friday night. Kansas City aside, Friday’s was one of his more chaotic innings of the entire season. Not only did Robertson put himself in a difficult position, he then had to endure against the heart of the Toronto Blue Jays lineup in a one-run game. But somehow Robertson managed his way out of what seemed like an impossible jam to escape to convert his 19th save in 21 tries.
“It’s a high-stress position and I think guys that are able to do that and get numbers like that are very unique,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “At the end it’s whether he got it done or not. Last night he got it done. It’s not the situation he wants to get in, but you have to be able to have the stuff to get out of it. And he has that.”
Robertson needed every ounce of his escape-ability.
Working for the fifth time in six days, Robertson’s inning was disrupted twice by lengthy delays, one for a 3-minute, 20-second replay review and another for a disputed foul ball off Darwin Barney’s bat. Robertson eventually walked Barney and proceeded to load the bases with consecutive singles, including an infield hit by Josh Donaldson.
All of a sudden, Robertson found himself staring down Edwin Encarnacion with red-hot Michael Saunders on deck and only one out.
“You couldn't ask for better guys at the plate,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
But in an instant, Robertson found his way out of trouble. He struck out Encarnacion on 3-2 pitch and Saunders harmlessly popped out to shortstop on the first pitch. Instead of lamenting a missed opportunity, Robertson received a congratulatory text from his wife, Erin, who notified him the save was the 100th of his career.
In 21 save opportunities this season, Robertson has a 0.82 ERA as he has allowed two earned runs and 14 hits in 22 innings. He has walked eight, struck out 26 and converted 19 tries.
“I definitely made it exciting out there,” Robertson said. “I wasn’t helping myself out much. It was a tough one, it was a grind. I was giving them everything I had and I felt like I was very fortunate to escape that inning without giving up a run.
“It would have been a lot of nicer if it was 1-2-3. I’ll remember that one for sure.”
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Andrew Shaw and Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin go back a few years.
It was Bergevin, when he was assistant general manager with the Blackhawks, who signed Shaw to his entry-level contract. And now they’re together again.
“He likes the rat in me, the work ethic,” Shaw said on Saturday via conference call. “He enjoys watching me play and dealing with him on my first contract was exciting for me as well. I owe him a lot.”
Shaw has run the gamut of emotions over the last day or so. The forward, who so fervently wanted to stay with Chicago, never got the deal to remain here. Instead he was sent to Montreal, where he’s reunited with Bergevin and will help the Canadiens increase their grit level. With Shaw and Brendan Gallagher together on that team, the pest factor will truly be high.
“Me and Gallagher, we have had some fun battles,” Shaw said. “Now I’m excited to be on his side to annoy people together, I guess.”
Still, the last five years with the Blackhawks, which included two Stanley Cups, will stay with Shaw forever. Shaw thought he and the Blackhawks were “pretty close” to a deal, but it never came to fruition.
“They have cap issues and it’s tough to get around, especially this time of year with the draft, free agency coming. It was tough. I thought we were close. Just have to move past it,” Shaw said. “Got a fresh start with a new team and I’m excited about that. It’ll be fun. Excited to meet the guys and get in that room. On the other end, I’ll miss my friends and teammates in Chicago as well.”
What contract Shaw gets from the Canadiens remains to be seen. Darren Dreger tweeted Saturday that talks between the two camps are going well, and Shaw could get “a 5-7-year extension in the days ahead.” The Blackhawks weren’t in a position to offer a lot of money or a lengthy term.
So Shaw turns a page in his career. His years with the Blackhawks were special to him but he’s reuniting with the man who helped bring him to Chicago in the first place.
“It’s a business. I knew the options that were coming my way. I just sat back and was patient and let that unravel. There’s not much I can do personally. Obviously five years in Chicago, two championships and a lot of friends, but I’m ready to move on and start a new chapter,” Shaw said. “I’m excited it’ll be with Montreal, and I hope everyone else feels the same way.”
The White Sox haven’t had much success with runners in scoring position of late. Todd Frazier hasn’t had much all season long.
But Frazier’s two-out RBI single in the eighth inning Friday night broke a tie and the White Sox held on for a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in front of 27,196 at U.S. Cellular Field. The victory was the fourth in five games for the White Sox, who improved to 37-37. Frazier’s hit was the only one with a runner in scoring position in 14 tries for a team that entered the game hitting .245 in those situations. He finished 2-for-4.
Though Frazier has provided the White Sox with plenty of thump, he’s had a trying season with runners in scoring position. He entered his eighth-inning at-bat with Jesse Chavez just 9-for-61 with two home runs and 23 RBIs with runners in scoring position, including a third-inning ground out. But Frazier got a 1-1 fastball from Chavez and ripped it into left field to put the White Sox ahead and end a frustrating night for the offense, particularly the bottom of the order.
The White Sox had left a man in scoring position in all but one inning up until that point. They tied the game at 1 in the fourth inning on an RBI groundout by Avisail Garcia and pulled ahead in the fifth on a solo homer by Melky Cabrera, who went 3-for-4 against his former team.
Prior to Frazier’s single, Cabrera grounded out to first as Edwin Encarnacion made a spectacular stop and fell down in foul territory. Tim Anderson, who doubled and went to third on a fly ball, didn’t advance on the play. But Frazier made it all moot.
Carlos Rodon had another strong outing, though he surrendered the lead right before he exited.
Rodon struck out eight and tamed a red hot offense for 5 2/3 innings. The left-hander fell behind 1-0 in the second inning and looked as if he may be in trouble before escaping the jam with a strikeout of Junior Lake to strand two. That began a stretch in which Rodon retired 11 of 14 batters and allowed the White Sox to rally for a 2-1 lead.
But Rodon couldn’t hold it, in part because of a sixth-inning balk call by first-base ump Angel Hernandez that earned pitching coach Don Cooper an ejection. Rodon hit Michael Saunders to start the sixth and he advanced on the balk and tagged up on a fly out to center. The extra 90 feet became critical when Kevin Pillar’s infield single tied it. Todd Frazier made a diving stop on the play at first base and Rodon took one too many steps to tag first base just behind the slide of Pillar.
Rodon allowed two earned runs and six hits with two walks.
The White Sox bullpen picked up the slack. Matt Albers, Nate Jones and Zach Duke combined for 2 1/3 scoreless innings to get the ball to Robertson. Robertson then pitched out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam for his 19th save in 21 tries.