“Last season is gone,” Robertson told the Chicago Tribune's Colleen Kane. “I felt like last season I pitched terrible. I had a lot of horrible outings. I let some situations slide by and made some mental errors out there and threw some pitches that I should not have thrown and I cost us a lot of games.
“I look around and come in and see the starters’ faces when they have thrown eight innings and I blew it there in the ninth. I hope this year I’m on top of my game and get the job done for these guys.”
Robertson was 34 for 41 in save opportunities last year, finishing with a 3.41 ERA. He posted 86 strikeouts against 13 walks.
I would not characterize his performance last year as "terrible," especially since he had a career-best 6.62 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a career-best 0.932 WHIP. His 2.52 FIP was the third-best of his eight-year career.
Moreover, nine of the 27 runs Robertson gave up last season came in a "terrible" stretch of three outings between Sept. 14 and 19, when the Sox had long since been eliminated from pennant contention. Those were poor performances, but they weren't exactly crushing to the team's hopes.
One thing I will criticize Robertson for: He gave up too many home runs last year -- seven of them in 63.1 IP. That's a high rate for a closer and a high total for a pitcher with Robertson's swing-and-miss stuff. Every pitcher gives up home runs sometimes, but Robertson needs to find a way to give up fewer.
I do give Robertson full credit for looking at himself and saying "I need to be better" with the Sox coming off a disappointing 76-86 season. Every player can and should do that, but I think he's being a little too hard on himself with the "terrible" comment.
If I were trying to come up with an example of terrible relief pitching, I think I would cite Ronald Belisario's 2014 campaign with the Sox well before I'd point to anything Robertson has ever done.