White Sox sticking with Robertson as closer

Right-hander confident he can shake recent struggles, blown saves

White Sox sticking with Robertson as closer

KANSAS CITY -- The second half of the season has not been a positive experience for White Sox closer David Robertson.

Over 11 innings covering 11 appearances entering Thursday, Robertson had yielded nine runs on 11 hits and five walks. Four of those hits were home runs, leaving him with four saves in eight opportunities and two blown saves in two games this week against the Royals.

But manager Robin Ventura left little doubt on Thursday that Robertson would continue to get the ninth inning with a lead if regular workload allows.

"Yes. Absolutely. That's not going to change," Ventura said. "Regardless if it's him or [Nate] Jonesy in the eighth, you have to find somebody else to do it at some point. We've used these guys quite a bit so that is always the possibility of doing that, but not out of just sending him out of the ninth inning."

There's no question Robertson has to be better, and it's a point the standup veteran readily acknowledges. White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper mentioned one of the problems with Robertson is getting his "angle too high."

"Last year when he wasn't good, he got his [arm] angle too high, which did not allow the ball to cut as freely, didn't allow the curve to curve as freely," Cooper said. "Robby also has like three outings where the numbers get jumped up. For me, the big thing is how many chances do you get and how many do you nail down."

These four blown saves have come after Robertson was sidelined by a strain high up in his left leg before the All-Star break. But Robertson points to quality of pitches above health concerns for his struggles.

"I feel physically fine. I'm not pitching the way I should be," Robertson said. "I'm not attacking the zone and staying on the corners and keeping guys off-balance. I feel like they are a little comfortable in the box on me.

"Walks are hurting me as well. I'm in bad counts right out of the gate. Then I feel like whenever it's time to make the quality pitch to get the out, I'm not making it. It's frustrating for me because my whole career I've been able to escape jams. Whenever I make a mistake, I've been able to get out of it. It seems like it's coming back to bite me. I can't seem to get out of one lately.

"Being a reliever, I'm going to get more opportunities so at some point it's going to turn for me and hopefully I'll get on a roll," Robertson said. "Right now, I've been doing a poor job out there and I need to pick it up."

Cooper gets ejected

Cooper gains a new perspective
Cooper was in the dugout for five pitches on Wednesday before receiving his seventh career ejection.

"A little different perspective," Cooper said. "And if I was smart, I would have done it the night before when it was much hotter. I wasn't even mad last night, but anyway."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.