After losing their first two games of the 2014 MLB season to the lowly Houston Astros, the New York Yankees had a lot of pressure to pick up a win on Thursday night. In a somewhat surprising twist, the one man who likely had the biggest monkey on his back was David Robertson, who hadn’t pitched during the first two games of the season but was looking to pick up the first save in the post-Mariano Rivera era.
Thankfully for Robertson, this milestone was finally achieved before the Yankees jettisoned off for a weekend series against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Coming into the game at the beginning of the bottom of the ninth inning with a relatively safe 4-2 lead, Robertson got Matt Dominguez, Alex Presley and Jonathan Villar out on a mere 13 pitches. It was about as easy of an inning as one would expect. Everyone knows that Robertson has the tools to succeed as a major league closer, but what this great repertoire and previous results doesn’t tell the average viewer is the added pressure of closing games, let alone the pressure that comes with succeeding Rivera.
This first save doesn’t mean that Robertson is going to be the next Rivera, but it is a good start, and it goes a long way towards saving the Yankees the added pressure of starting the season in a rut. But most importantly of all, this save officially marks the end of the Mariano Rivera era for the Yankees, and the beginning of the David Robertson era.
Whether that is a good or bad thing will be determined over the next 159 games.