The Los Angeles Dodgers were just one win away from setting a franchise wins record. Craig Kimbrel got the call in an extra-innings affair against the San Diego Padres. Unfortunately, the Dodgers will have to wait at least one more day to set the record as the 34-year-old’s struggles continued.
Kimbrel allowed three walks (though one was an intentional one to Juan Soto) in the bottom of the 10th inning, one of which allowed the Padres to win. After losing his role as the surefire closer for the Dodgers, his ability to contribute in the postseason is being questioned severely.
After the game, Kimbrel said that he knows he can contribute to the Dodgers’ World Series chase. The eight-time All-Star said he knows it’s in him and that he just has to start executing. He explained that he failed against the Padres because he was yanking fastballs:
Craig Kimbrel said he was trying to do too much and yanked some fastballs. Was frustrated with the number of non competitive pitches.
Asked if he thinks he can contribute in October, he said, “I know I can. I just got to do it.”
— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) September 28, 2022
Kimbrel’s 4.02 ERA is a rough sight to behold. He has gotten better overall over the back half of the season, but he still isn’t proving to be a worthwhile piece to a playoff bullpen.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts knows Kimbrel has to start pitching better. He said that he will keep using him when it makes sense, which is surely not what Los Angeles fans want to hear. His trust in the veteran has been waning but is still pretty strong. Blown leads late in playoff games could even derail the mighty Dodgers, so he has to play his cards right:
Dave Roberts on whether he sees Craig Kimbrel on the #Dodgers postseason roster: "Every day is a test. He’s gotta go out there. I’ll keep giving him opportunities when it makes sense and we’ll make decisions as we get down the line."
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) September 28, 2022
The Dodgers have tons of options for the closer role. Roberts’ reliance on Kimbrel has not paid off and he could be in real danger of being left out of the bullpen rotation. Craig Kimbrel’s pursuit of his second World Series starts now, as he has to start showing he is worth a spot on the playoff roster.