Dodgers News: Craig Kimbrel ‘Frustrated’ With ‘Yanking’ Pitches

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After struggling for nearly the entire season, the Los Angeles Dodgers demoted Craig Kimbrel from the closer role and instead decided on a committee for the ninth inning.

Tommy Kahnle has pitched in the two highest leverage spots in the ninth inning since the change was made, which indicates he could be the early favorite to see the most save opportunities in the postseason.

However, after Kahnle pitched a scoreless ninth on Tuesday, the game went to extra innings and Kimbrel was then called on to try to extend the game into the 11th. The first out was recorded on a bunt and Juan Soto was intentionally walked.

Kimbrel then struck out Manny Machado for the second out, but it all fell apart from there. The veteran reliever followed by walking Brandon Drury to load the bases and then walked Jorge Alfaro to bring in the winning run. The Padres’ catcher had not walked since July 26.

After the Dodgers’ walk-off loss, Kimbrel expressed frustration with his performance and lack of command, as seen on SportsNet LA:

“I just tried to stay through them, and yanked them. They didn’t come back. They stayed there and were balls. It’s frustrating. I felt like I was on line. I was just yanking the ball. Frustrated is all I can say.”

After changing his walk-out song to “Let It Go,” Kimbrel found some success and looked like he could be the closer the Dodgers were hoping to acquire when they sent A.J. Pollock to the Chicago White Sox. But After that brief stint, he has regressed back to where he has been throughout most of the season:

“I would say just the competitiveness on my pitches. You can throw balls and then be competitive and useful. I’m throwing a lot of uncompetitive balls that aren’t very useful. When you throw a pitch and you don’t have anything to work off of it, you’ve got to be perfect on the next one and it makes it tough. I’ve just got to get on line, trust it and make my pitch. Not yank it.”

Kimbrel was looking to use the demotion from the Dodgers closer role as an opportunity to get back on track, but he is running out of time if he wishes to earn a spot on the postseason roster.

The 34-year-old has pitched to a 4.02 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in 56 innings while striking out 66 batters and walking 26.

Will Craig Kimbrel be part of Dodgers postseason bullpen?

The Dodgers will have a few decisions to make on their postseason roster, but as it stands now, it’s starting to become more clear who will be pitching for the club come October.

Evan Phillips, Chris Martin, Alex Vesia and Kahnle are the four locks while Brusdar Graterol and Yency Almonte, who is expected to return on Wednesday, will likely be on the team if they continue to prove they are healthy.

Andrew Heaney is expected to get a look out of the bullpen before the season ends, and he should join Dustin May, who is confident he will be ready for the postseason, as the two multi-inning relievers.

That leaves one more spot for one of Kimbrel, Caleb Ferguson, Phil Bickford and David Price. As it currently stands, Ferguson should be the favorite of the group. But his concerning strikeout to walk ratio makes him less of a guarantee to earn a spot.

If Blake Treinen is healthy, he is all but assured to be on the roster with that final spot, but he has not been bouncing back as the club hoped, which puts his future in question.

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