Craig Kimbrel gets warning about Dodgers’ closer role
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.
#Dodgers Dave Roberts on Craig Kimbrel: "He’s our closer. But certainly performance matters – especially at the back end of the game. No one knows that more than Craig. … He’s got to continue to work on some things to be more efficient and be more effective. That’s just facts"
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) July 30, 2022
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.