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#pounditMonday, November 28, 2022

Dodgers make notable bullpen decision ahead of playoffs

Dave Roberts in a Dodgers hat

Oct 7, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts (right) watches batting practice prior to game four of the 2019 NLDS playoff baseball series against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers have won 104 games and counting, but now they are looking to address perhaps their lone weakness.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters on Friday that reliever Craig Kimbrel has been removed from the closer role, per ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez. The eight-time All-Star Kimbrel will pitch in a variety of roles and innings moving forward while the Dodgers move to a closer-by-committee instead.

Gonzalez adds that there is “a pretty decent chance” that is how the Dodgers’ bullpen situation will look come playoff time as well.

The Dodgers’ decision to axe Kimbrel as closer comes after his latest blown save against Arizona on Thursday (though Kimbrel earned the win when the Dodgers walked it off in the bottom of the ninth). The bad outing brought Kimbrel up to a 4.14 ERA on the year with five blown saves in 27 chances.

It looked like the 34-year-old Kimbrel had turned his season around with a strong month from mid-August to mid-September (possibly all thanks to an unlikely good luck charm). But he has fallen back into some old bad habits, leaving the Dodgers to rely on the likes of Chris Martin, Evan Phillips, Brusdar Graterol, and others to close out games from here instead.

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