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#pounditFriday, December 9, 2022

Craig Kimbrel gets warning about Dodgers’ closer role

Craig Kimbrel in his Dodgers uniform

May 30, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel (46) reacts following the ninth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers still seem to be on shaky ground with Craig Kimbrel closing games, and manager Dave Roberts made that clear after Friday’s win.

Kimbrel allowed two runs on three hits and a walk in Friday’s win over the Colorado Rockies, turning a 5-2 game into a 5-4 nailbiter in which the Dodgers narrowly held on. The outing increased Kimbrel’s ERA to 4.37, and the former All-Star is posting a 5.47 ERA since May 16.

After the latest shaky performance, Roberts made clear that Kimbrel is still the team’s closer, but the veteran must improve or risk losing the role.

Roberts had offered a vote of confidence to Kimbrel a month ago, but things have not significantly improved since then. At a certain stage, the manager has no choice but to put his closer on notice.

The Dodgers have no obvious replacement for Kimbrel within their bullpen right now even if they do want to make a chance. With Tuesday’s trade deadline looming, they will have to act quickly if they want to bring in external competition.

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