Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Not Concerned About Craig Kimbrel

Shortly after losing Kenley Jansen to the Atlanta Braves in free agency, the Los Angeles Dodgers filled their void at closer by acquiring Craig Kimbrel in a trade that sent AJ Pollock to the Chicago White Sox.

Kimbrel joined the Dodgers as the only active closer with more saves than Jansen. However, he was coming off some struggles with the Chicago White Sox and has yet to find much consistency for L.A.

In effort to aid that process, the Dodgers committed to a plan that ensured Kimbrel would pitch at least once every three games. That played out on Sunday when he entered in the bottom of the eight inning despite the Royals holding a 3-0 lead.

Kimbrel surrendered a solo home run to Vinnie Pasquantino, and the Dodgers had their 12-game winning streak snapped. Despite allowing a run for a third time in his past four games, Roberts said he isn’t worried about Kimbrel, per Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:

“I think earlier where there was a lot more sprays going on, there was the high pitch count to get through an inning,” Roberts said. “I think the fastball (to Pasquantino) just wasn’t located. … It was center-cut. Just throwing it in the square isn’t good enough.

“But I don’t have any concerns.”

On the season, the 34-year-old has a 4.39 ERA and 1.49 WHIP to go along with 20 saves in 23 opportunities.

Both due to fastball command and stretches of being unable to locate his curveball, Kimbrel has only nine clean appearances in 43 games. After allowing two runs before converting a save against the Colorado Rockies at the end of July, Roberts said Kimbrel needed to improve his efficiency and effectiveness.

Craig Kimbrel remaining Dodgers closer

Even as the right-hander has struggled throughout the season, Roberts has not wavered in his support of Kimbrel as the Dodgers’ closer.

“Right now, obviously Craig is our closer, and I do feel good about it. He’s done it and I think it’s trending in the right direction,” Roberts reiterated last week.

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