Dodgers News: Craig Kimbrel Not Prioritizing Individual Achievements

When the Los Angeles Dodgers traded for Craig Kimbrel, they acquired the only active closer with more saves than Kenley Jansen.

Kimbrel has yet to receive an abundance of opportunities with L.A., but he played a part in their 3-1 win over the San Francisco Giants in what marked the first meeting between the two teams since Game 5 of last year’s National League Division Series.

Chris Taylor had two of the Dodgers’ five hits, including a two-run single with two outs in the second inning. L.A. scored an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth when a wild pitch allowed Hanser Alberto to come home from third base.

That was all the run support Kimbrel needed as he tossed a scoreless ninth inning to record the 377th save of his career, tying him with Joe Nathan for eighth all-time. “I’m glad we won,” Kimbrel said after the game.

“That’s kind of how I’m taking it right now. I do understand it’s a special moment in my career. Just one more save to add onto the other ones I have, but right now I’m just focusing on this season and one save at a time. Just going out there and getting outs.”

Although he kept the Giants off the scoreboard, Kimbrel had to throw a season-high 26 pitches to earn the save. The first three batters worked the count full against him, and the go-ahead run came up to the plate with two outs.

“I got a swing and miss, a pop-up and ground ball to short. That’s how I got out of it,” Kimbrel dully explained. “They definitely made me work. Got into some deep counts, a lot of foul balls, but I was able to get through it.”

Tuesday’s outing marked Kimbrel’s first in the Dodgers-Giants rivalry. “It was good. We won. It’s always good when you win,” he said.

“I think it’s going to be a good matchup all year long. They’ve got a good team over there and we have a good team over here. We’ve got 18 more games and they’re all going to be good.”

Kimbrel expects tough NL West race

The Dodgers and Giants went back-and-forth in the NL West many times last season, and Kimbrel anticipates that will be the case this year as well. “Even on the other side you could see how good each team was,” he began when asked about the race last year.

“It’s not too many times you’ve got two teams — really, three teams — in one division playing as good as they did and still have that many wins. They were beating up on everybody else pretty good. They still have a lot of the same guys and new faces; same thing over here. Still two really good ballclubs that are going to duke it out all year long.”

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