Dodgers Team News

Dodgers: Dave Roberts Once Again Says Craig Kimbrel Will Remain Closer

It was another rollercoaster night for Dodgers fans on Friday. More specifically, a roller coaster 9th inning. Whether the team has been up by 10 or 5 or 3 runs, getting that 27th and final out has proven to be a challenge recently.

For LA closer Craig Kimbrel, however, it feels like it has been more often than not that he’s crumbling to end a game. Yesterday, Kimbrel was brought in to protect a 5-2 lead for the Dodgers. Ultimately, he was able to record the save — his 18th of the season — but it absolutely was not pretty.

The veteran allowed two runs and took 29 pitches to get three outs. After getting two quick outs, Kimbrel allowed three hits and a walk and had the tying and winning runs on base.

“To get three outs and get near 30 pitches just isn’t good enough. And Craig knows that,” Dave Roberts said after the game. And, despite another struggle bus of an outing, the Dodger manager doubled (or perhaps tripled down by this point of the season) on the fact that Kimbrel will remain the closer for now.

“There’s one outing where he’s efficient, commanding the baseball, getting the swing and miss. The next one we’re up near 30 (pitches) to get three outs. … 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.”

Fans Share Their Thoughts

Kimbrel, an 8-time All-Star has had his fair balance of ups and downs this season. He’s blown only three saves all year but has allowed 14 runs during save situations. And the more you look at the numbers, the stranger they get.

Over 37 games, Kimbrel has posted a 4.37 ERA (17 earned runs over 35 innings) but his fielding independent pitching ERA (FIP) sits at a solid 2.01. So, you can argue that he’s pitching through some bad luck. However, a good amount of that bad luck might just be his own fault as he’s allowing nearly 10 hits per 9 innings (9.8 H9) and walking nearly 4 per 9 (3.9 BB9). He’s striking out a bunch of batters — 50 over 35 innings to be exact — but when batters make contact with the ball, they’re hitting better than .400 so far this season (.402 BAbip).

Whatever the numbers are, Dave Roberts is not taking the closer’s role from Kimbrel. At least not yet. And while it’s not always pretty by any stretch of the imagination, the pitcher is still getting the job done more often than not. He’s just going to need a lot more help whenever and however he can get it.

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Clint Pasillas

Clint Pasillas has been writing, blogging, and podcasting about the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2008. Under Clint's leadership as the Lead Editor, Dodgers Nation has grown into one of the most read baseball sites in the world with millions of unique visitors per month. Find him online on Twitter/X or his YouTube channel!


  1. If Roberts is going to stick with Kimbrel this club better be leading by a big crooked number going into the late innings.

    1. Yep. It’s just so dangerous because Dave doesn’t just play loose like this in July. He’ll do this in October in the WS when we have healthy and better arms in the pen ready to go, just to prove his stubborn point. Which is that he can lose big and small games with equal effectiveness lol

  2. I will say it again. If Kimbrel is our closer, we won’t win the world series. We had no business almost losing last night. This is getting old. We should have kept Kenley. We are paying Kimbrel what Kelley’s salary is with the Braves.

  3. This Kimbrel business is on Dave Roberts and it’ll be our eventual undoing. Mark my words.

  4. In 2020, when Jansen was stinking the place up, Roberts did the same thing. He doubled and tripled down that Kenley was going to remain his closer even though it was clear to the entire baseball world that there was something off with Jansen and he just wasn’t getting the job done. And then the playoffs came and it was the last game of the World Series and who did Roberts finally turn to in the 9th inning to close it out with? Julio Urias and there was a collective sigh of relief that Roberts FINALLY saw the light and realized that his loyalty to one player DIDN’T TRUMP THE RIGHTS OF THE REST OF THE TEAM!!!!!! I don’t know what’s going on with Kimbrel and why he can’t find the strike zone and DO HIS JOB! and I don’t care. The guy we all need to worry about is Dave Roberts and wonder if he’s going to do the right thing. Bench Muncy, play Bellinger sparingly and PUT SOMEONE ELSE IN AS THE DODGER CLOSER!. I’ll never understand why that concept is so hard of Roberts to understand. Any other manager in baseball would have long ago taken steps to correct these issues, but not Roberts. Here, LA has the best talent in baseball and a minor league manager to run things. God has a sense of humor.

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