Craig Kimbrel suffered a third blown save of the season and now the Los Angeles Dodgers will be without their closer at least for the first two games of this week’s series against the Colorado Rockies.
The Dodgers were two outs away from completing a series sweep of the San Diego Padres when Kimbrel faltered, absorbing a comebacker along the way.
After starting the ninth inning by striking out Manny Machado, Kimbrel was drilled in his upper back by a 100.5 mph line drive off Jake Cronenworth’s bat. Kimbrel attempted to make the play but Cronenworth reached on an infield single.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and athletic trainer Nate Lucero checked on Kimbrel, who initially crouched down in pain but barely acknowledged their presence and assured he could continue pitching.
Luke Voit then tied the game with an RBI double that hit high off the bullpen gate in left field, and Eric Hosmer followed with a go-ahead base hit that also knocked Kimbrel out of the game.
“We took a scan, scans were negative,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after the 4-2 loss. “It was kind of right below the scapula, almost made the play. Just unfortunate how that inning played out.
“But as far as health, he’ll be down for a couple days and the expectation is he’ll be ready to go then.”
Roberts added the Dodgers gave some “thought” to removing Kimbrel after he was hit by the comebacker. “But a guy like that, when he says he’s good to go and throws some pitches, we liked what we saw,” Roberts explained.
“I just felt let him go. Faced Voit, got behind and Voit hit a pitch in for a double. … I thought he made a good pitch, 1-2, backdoor breaking ball and we didn’t get the call. Then he went with the fastball and Hosmer took a good swing on it.
“At that point in time, I think it just tightened up and we brought in (Yency) Almonte.”
Kimbrel remaining Dodgers closer
Kimbrel has been inconsistent through most of the season and despite back-to-back scoreless appearances at the beginning of the Padres series, the right-hander has a 6.28 ERA in his last 15 games.
Like a sentiment shared two weeks ago, Roberts is sticking with Kimbrel in his role as Dodgers closer.
“Right now I’m not even considering that (removing Kimbrel as closer). I think he’s earned that,” Roberts said. “Also, just given where our bullpen is at and who we have, to have the ability to deploy guys in different spots has its value as well.
“I just think the net of having Craig as our closer is pretty easy.”
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