Who Should Be The Setup Man To Rivera In 2012?
The bullpen is a very important piece to any team. It helps you win games and it helps hold games to a tie when it’s one of those, “must win” games that you need to get into the playoffs. The bullpen is also good for the “mop up” games whether your team is in the lead, or whether the team is poorly behind.
Now, the Yankees have I believe the best bullpen in the Major Leagues right now, also with the greatest closer of all time named Mariano Rivera, but before Rivera can come in there needs to be a pitcher that can set him up in one of those must win games. The 8th inning role has come down to 2 men who will probably be fighting for the setup role this Spring Training; David Robertson & Rafael Soriano. They both are excellent pitchers, but who is more qualified to take the coveted position to warm up the ball for Mo?
After having a mediocre 2010 season, David Robertson started the season in the bullpen as the 6th inning guy. David Robertson would soon get his chance however to star in the 8th inning position after Rafael Soriano went down with a shoulder injury. Let’s just say at the end of the year Robertson’s numbers did not disappoint. In 2011, Robertson was 4-0, had a 1.08 ERA, a 1.125 WHIP, managed to notch 100 K’s in the season all while pitching 66.2 innings. Everyone that knows Robertson understands that even he gets himself into some situations every now and again, but David Robertson is able to end an inning in dramatic fashion(3 strikeouts after loading the bases is one instance). Because of such theatrical pitching, he is known as Houdini. If Robertson continues his stellar pitching, not only will he get the 8th inning role this year but he might get the coveted position of closer once our beloved Mariano Rivera retires.
Rafael Soriano was signed in the 2010 offseason to become the 8th inning man to Mariano Rivera. He was originally the closer with the Tampa Bay Rays but couldn’t continue the closing duties because of…well…Mariano Rivera. Soriano didn’t get to keep the 8th inning role for long after he obtained a shoulder injury and he didn’t get the role back even after he came back from the DL. Instead his role was the 7th inning since Joba Chamberlain was out for the rest of the season due to Tommy John Surgery and let’s just say that Soriano was…mediocre. In 39.1 IP he was 2-3, had a 4.12 ERA, a 1.297 WHIP and racked up 36 K’s. It’s not bad but would you really want someone with a 4.12 ERA attempting to pass on the ball to Mo in a tight game?
While I enjoy watching Robertson & Soriano, I would have to give the 8th inning role to David Robertson. Robertson came out like a full fledged All-Star while Soriano was either hurt or inconsistent in his appearances. Soriano could do the 7th inning role while Joba Chamberlain recuperates and nurses his arm back to pitching form but when he comes back he could be the 6th inning man.
Now it’s up for you to decide: