David Robertson has been sidelined for nearly a month with a left oblique strain, but the Yankees could finally have him back in their bullpen for Friday’s series opener against the Nationals.
According to Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com, Robertson tossed a scoreless inning in his first rehab appearance yesterday with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Yankees manager Joe Girardi is optimistic that he’ll be ready to go after just one more appearance tomorrow.
“We’re just looking for him to have his arm back in shape,” Girardi told Bloom. “Just making sure he can bounce back if he throws a day. I heard no complaints today, so that’s a good thing.”
Robertson was given the first crack at the closer role in the aftermath of Mariano Rivera’s torn right ACL, but he joined the all-time saves leader on the disabled list less than two weeks later. Of course, Rafael Soriano then took advantage by tossing eight shutout innings while going a perfect 8-for-8 in save opportunities. While his impressive streak finally came to an end yesterday against the Mets, he’s expected to keep the closer gig upon Robertson’s return.
The Dodgers and Astros have selected their starters for Game 1 of the World Series. Left-hander Dallas Keuchel will open the series for the Astros, while fellow lefty Clayton Kershaw will take the mound for the first of two home games at Dodger Stadium.
Keuchel, 29, has been a steady presence for the Astros this postseason. He clinched Game 2 of the ALDS with 5 2/3 innings of one-run, seven-strikeout ball against the Red Sox and returned for his second postseason win with seven scoreless innings against the Yankees in Game 1 of the ALCS. He was outmatched in Game 5 of the Championship Series, however, scattering four runs and eight strikeouts across 4 2/3 innings while the Yankees worked their way up to a 5-0 shutout. Nevertheless, he’s perhaps the Astros’ strongest arm behind ALCS MVP Justin Verlander and has not surrendered a single home run in 17 1/3 consecutive innings this postseason.
Kershaw, on the other hand, has had a less consistent track record in the playoffs. While his postseason yips have been well-documented thus far, his struggles on the mound haven’t always led to disaster — at least not this time around. The Dodgers are 3-0 in all three of Kershaw’s starts this month and enjoyed a quality start from their ace during Game 5 of the NLCS last Thursday. The 29-year-old southpaw recorded his second win of the playoffs with a run, three hits, a walk and five strikeouts over six innings. Unlike Keuchel, he’s given up a home run in each of his outings to date (and four homers in Game 1 of the NLDS).
Game 1 is set for Tuesday evening at 8:00 PM ET. The Dodgers have home field advantage through Games 1 and 2 before the series moves to Houston, and will try to capitalize on that advantage in order to extend their postseason winning streak at Dodger Stadium. They’re 4-0 at home and 3-1 on the road this October, while the Astros boast a 6-0 advantage in Houston and a significantly less impressive 1-4 record away from home.