Robertson thriving as Yankees' secret weapon

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In previewing the Yankees’ playoff pitching staff most of the focus was understandably on the CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Andy Pettitte three-man rotation and the Mariano Rivera, Phil Hughes, and Joba Chamberlain three-man bullpen.
Because of off days and matchups those six guys figured to do just about all the relevant pitching for New York in the postseason, but two extra-inning games and Joe Girardi’s quick hooks have caused the Yankees to also rely upon David Robertson and the 24-year-old right-hander has emerged as another outstanding late-inning option.
Robertson has made a pair of appearances in the playoffs so far, working out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the 11th inning of ALDS Game 2 and then pitching a scoreless 13th frame in ALCS Game 2. He picked up the victory in both outings, which as Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes isn’t exactly how things were supposed to go for a rookie who missed most of September with an elbow injury.
However, when healthy Robertson shutting down hitters shouldn’t come as a surprise. He had a 3.30 ERA, 63/23 K/BB ratio, and .216 opponents’ batting average in 43.2 innings during the regular season, posting the highest strikeout rate among all big-league pitchers with at least 40 innings. And in a 25-game stint with the Yankees last season he struck out 36 batters in 30.1 frames.
Robertson’s minor-league track record is impeccable, with a 1.30 ERA and 215 strikeouts versus just 85 hits allowed in 152.2 innings since the Yankees selected him in the 17th round of the 2006 draft from the University of Alabama. Robertson’s emergence this season not only gives the Yankees an extra late-inning option during the playoffs, it gives them the flexibility to make Chamberlain and/or Hughes full-time starters in 2010.

Travis d’Arnaud’s position in Wednesday’s box score read “3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B”

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The Mets had to scratch both Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores an hour before Wednesday’s game against the Yankees due to ribcage injuries, so Travis d'Arnaud borrowed David Wright‘s glove and played third base for the first time in his career. He had played some third base in spring training, but as far as an official professional game goes, he’s never been there.

The first two batters the Yankees sent up to the plate in the first inning were left-handed. But when the right-handed Aaron Judge came up, manager Terry Collins swapped second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera with d’Arnaud. It became a thing. The two swapped once more in the first inning, three times in the second, once in the third, five times in the fourth, once in the fifth, three times in the sixth, four times in the seventh, once in the eighth, and twice in the ninth. It worked, as d’Arnaud didn’t have an opportunity to make a play until catching Todd Frazier‘s pop-up for the first out of the ninth inning — as a second baseman. Cabrera had a handful of opportunities, including immediately after having swapped with d’Arnaud.

The Mets lost 5-3. At the plate, d’Arnaud went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly. Cabrera was 1-for-4.

Matt Reynolds and Gavin Cecchini are being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas so the Mets don’t have to do the “3B-2B shenanigans,” as MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo put it, again.

John Lackey stole the first base of his career

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Cubs starter John Lackey stole the first base of his 15-year career on Wednesday against the Reds. Of course, he spent the first 11 and a half years of his career in the American League, where opportunities to bat, let alone attempt to steal a base, were rare. Lackey entered Wednesday having taken 250 plate appearances, reaching base just 31 times on 17 singles, seven doubles, and seven walks for a .134 on-base percentage. One can imagine the 38-year-old is not exactly the swiftest base runner.

Still, Lackey managed to swipe a bag in the fourth inning. He singled with two outs against Homer Bailey. Then, with an 0-1 count on Ben Zobrist, Lackey broke for second even before Bailey began his windup. Tucker Barnhart stood up to alert Bailey that Lackey was running, so Bailey wheeled around and threw to second base, but Lackey slid into the bag easily safe. It wasn’t a pretty slide, but it did the job.

Lackey, however, was picked off of second base by Barnhart later that inning. Bailey threw a 3-2 fastball wide of the strike zone, walking Zobrist. Lackey had wandered too far off of second base, so Barnhart threw behind Lackey and the tag was applied by Zack Cozart. Lackey was called safe initially. The play was reviewed and the ruling on the field was overturned, ending the fourth inning.

Base Ba’al giveth and Base Ba’al taketh away.