NEW YORK -- Dave Robertson's grip on the eighth inning may only last into next month, but the right-hander has given his team nothing to worry about in his new role setting up for closer Mariano Rivera.
With Rafael Soriano on the disabled list until after the All-Star break and Joba Chamberlain out for the year, Robertson has flourished, holding opponents to one earned run over his last 17 appearances.
"I feel like coming into those jams makes me really have to focus on throwing strikes," said Robertson, who owns a 1.19 ERA in 33 appearances. "In the past, when I've come in and no one's on base, I've tended to walk a couple and still get out.
"I think that's really helped me be able to bear down and pretend it's like a situation like that, and really just throw strikes and go after hitters."
Robertson started the year behind Soriano and Chamberlain on the pecking order, picking up outs in the sixth and sometimes seventh innings and earning praise for his high strikeout rate (14.24 per nine innings).
But he said that his sense is that, by and large, all of the innings he has been thrust into have felt the same.
"It seems like every time I'm in a game, it's a high-pressure game," Robertson said. "I find a way to get outs. Even if it's the eighth inning and there's no one on base, you still have to get outs without letting them score.
"It's a little different with having runners on base, but you still have to do the same thing. You have to get outs and try to keep the game going and get the ball to Mo."