Culver City Observer -

Dodgers will need bullpen help from Kimbrel


Dodgers veteran closer Craig Kimbrel has been struggling handling ninth-inning save opportunities so far this season. Even with undesirable overall numbers this year, 4.82 ERA, three blown saves manager Dave Roberts has no plans to remove Kimbrel from his role as closer.

“Right now, I’m not even considering that,” Roberts said. “I think he’s earned that. Also, just given where our bullpen’s at and who we have, to have the ability to deploy guys in different spots, I think has value, as well. So I think that having Craig still as our closer, for me, is pretty easy.”

The Dodgers are going to need Kimbrel to right the ship sooner than later. Their bullpen has already been considerably diminished. Daniel Hudson, who has the second-most saves this season, is most likely out for the year with a torn left ACL. In addition to Hudson, five other relievers are on the IL, including four for a period of 60 days.

Kimbrel might want to revisit, remember, replay the tapes, and put into action with muscle memory the past seasons that he experienced great success as a member of the Braves where he had between 42 and 50 saves for four consecutive seasons (2011-2014).

There’s been a murmur being heard amongst some Dodger fans, a disappointment that Kimbrel isn’t stacking up to the performance of former closer Kenley Jansen, and wondering if the trade on April 1st sending outfielder A.J. Pollock to the White Sox in exchange for 34-year-old “All-Star” Kimbrel was a good idea. Maybe it wasn’t such a blockbuster trade after-all.

The fans give Dodger players a tight leash and the Kimbrel “boo-birds” have been heard at times during his poor performance games at Dodger Stadium. Moving forward, one can only hope that Kimbrel has a resurrection and lives up to the excellence that the fans and the Dodgers brass expect of him.

The first place Dodgers will finish their current five game road trip with two games against the Angels Friday and Saturday in Anaheim before most of the players take a few days off during the All-Star break. They will start a seven game homestand against the Giants and Washington on July 21.


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