Dodgers Team News

Dodgers News: Craig Kimbrel Thinks He Can Still Contribute to Postseason Roster

The latest chapter in the Craig Kimbrel saga went down last night, and it was filled with hope and optimism followed by disbelief and despair. Or at least some version of despair, the kind you feel when your favorite team loses a game that doesn’t actually matter.

The reason Kimbrel’s performance did matter, though, is because he’s pitching not just for his role as closer in October, but for his spot on the postseason roster. The Dodgers have a roster crunch coming up, especially if a few guys on the injured list get healthy, and Kimbrel is in real danger of not making the cut.

After the game, which saw Kimbrel get a huge strikeout of Manny Machado with the winning run on third only to walk the next two hitters for the loss, Kimbrel faced the media and answered the tough questions.

Yeah, when you walk a guy who hadn’t walked in his previous 59 plate appearances, command is pretty easy to identify as the issue. As Eric Karros said on the broadcast during the at-bat, Kimbrel was going to get swings from Jorge Alfaro even out of the zone, as long as he was missing high or low. But all four balls to Alfaro were outside, and the last two missed by six or eight inches. They were, to put it bluntly, noncompetitive pitches.

But the 8-time All-Star’s stuff is still good. His strikeout of Machado demonstrated that, and at the time it seemed like it might jumpstart Kimbrel back into the hearts of Dodger fans. But after getting Brandon Drury in a 1-2 count, he threw three straight noncompetitive pitches that missed the zone by close to a foot. Then ran into the same issue with Alfaro.

Command is a tricky thing with a pitcher, and it can come and go with no warning. The Dodgers have spent all season betting that his stuff would eventually shine through, and they’ve been rewarded at times. But Kimbrel is absolutely right that he has a lot of work to do in a very short time to prove he deserves a spot on the postseason roster.

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Jeff Snider

Jeff was born into a Dodgers family in Southern California and is now raising a Dodgers family of his own in Utah. During his previous career as an executive at a technology company, he began writing about baseball in his spare time. After leaving corporate America in 2014, he started doing it professionally. Jeff wrote and edited for Baseball Essential for years before joining Dodgers Nation. He's also the co-host of the Locked On Dodgers podcast, a daily podcast that brings the smart fan's perspective on our Boys in Blue. Jeff has a degree in English from Brigham Young University. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw's homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.


  1. Sure, Kimbrel can still contribute to the team in the playoffs… he can make sure they get water when they’re thirsty and that there’s enough Sunflower seeds available and maybe the players get fresh towels to shower with. But getting the ball in a critical spot in a playoff game? Leave that to the pros who have proven themselves over a 160+ game session. You know, players who are actually good and give their team a chance to win.

  2. Kimbrel can contribute to the roster by not being on it. If he pitches any late innings in playoffs, no rings for the Dodgers despite their outstanding season.

  3. A “closer” with a 6-6 record and an ERA over 4 is the definition of ineffectiveness. At least a couple of his six wins were save opportunities that he has blown, only to have the offense bail him out in their next at bat and give him the win. Kimbrel is past his prime, his signing was an error, take the hit and let him go. If he’s on the playoff roster he will cost the Dodgers a championship.

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