With Craig Kimbrel’s struggles this year, the Dodgers’ bullpen has been in somewhat of a state of unrest throughout the season. Twelve different L.A. pitchers have recorded saves this season, and 23 have finished a game for the team.
Tommy Kahnle is the lastest of those 12 with a save, locking down L.A.’s 107th win of the season on Wednesday night. Even before that, Kahnle was definitely one of the guys in the conversation to sometimes pitch the ninth inning in the postseason if the Dodgers go with a closer-by-committee approach. Since returning from the injured list two weeks ago, Kahnle has posted a 1.35 ERA is seven appearances.
Kahnle dropped by Dodger Talk a few days ago to talk with insider David Vassegh, and the conversation turned to the possibility of manager Dave Roberts tapping Kahnle to pitch the ninth inning of important games.
“At the end of the day, it’s Doc’s decision. He’s going to put in at the time who he feels is right. And we’re all here, we’re all going to be ready out in the bullpen — whatever inning he wants to use us, we’re all going to be ready.”
Kahnle has never been a closer, saving just five games in his eight-year career, but he has shown the ability to dominate both righties and lefties, which might be the most important qualification. Showing no fear on the mound, Kahnle fits right in with Evan Phillips, Brusdar Graterol, Blake Treinen, and the rest of the Dodgers bullpen.
He added with Vassegh that the ninth inning role is something that’s intrigued him over his career.
“I’ve always wanted to be a closer. It’s a different inning. I know it’s a different animal, it always has been. I’ve talked to so many closers [about it] over the years.”
If Kimbrel isn’t ready to contribute in October, you can bet Kahnle and his bullpen buddies will be.
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