Rookie righthander Hansel Robles impressed in his big-league debut, inheriting two runners and ultimately stranding the bases loaded in the seventh inning of the Mets 6-1 loss at Yankee Stadium.
After allowing an infield single to his first batter Alex Rodriguez to load them up, Robles shook off the jitters, bore down and got Mark Teixeira to pop out and then struck out Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran to end the threat.
Before his promotion to the Mets to replace the injured Jerry Blevins, Robles was off to a great start at Triple-A Las Vegas where in five relief appearances he pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings with ten strikeouts.
Only 24, Robles signed with the Mets as an International free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2009. While this talented young righty has been predominately a starter in his pro career, that all changed in 2014 with Double-A Binghamton.
His impact as a relief pitcher began to emerge after B-Mets manager Pedro Lopez converted him from a starter due to a need in his bullpen.
It soon became apparent that Robles was throwing 6-8 mph harder and more importantly due to his improved command he was evolving into a shutdown reliever.
After an August 3rd appearance – his fourth as reliever – Robles struck out the side in his inning of work and then fanned four more in two perfect innings of relief in his next outing.
The next day he was officially tabbed as the new closer of the B-Mets following four consecutive dominating performances. The new Robles was now sporting a 96 mph four-seamer with late explosion up in the zone.
Now with the Mets, Robles gives the team another formidable weapon in the bullpen and in time he may even emerge as the team’s primary setup man.