Craig Kimbrel joined Kenley Jansen as former Los Angeles Dodgers closers to reach 400 career saves this season. Like Jansen, Kimbrel achieved the milestone by closing out a against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park.
He entered in the bottom of the ninth inning with the Philadelphia Phillies holding a 6-4 lead. Kimbrel retired the first two batters faced before walking Michael Harris II on six pitches. He then got Ronald Acuña Jr. to ground out to end the game.
Although Jansen only spent one season with the Braves, the team he grew up rooting for, Kimbrel was selected by Atlanta in the third round of the 2008 MLB Draft. The right-hander made his MLB debut with the Braves in 2010 — coincidentally against the Phillies — and went on to become their vaunted closer.
But the Braves previously were on the wrong end of another benchmark for Kimbrel when he reached 200 career saves while pitching for the San Diego Padres in 2015.
Kimbrel recorded 186 saves with the Braves from 2010-2014, 39 with the Padres, 108 while with the Boston Red Sox from 2016-2018, 38 for the Chicago Cubs from 2019-2021, one with the Chicago White Sox in 2021, and 22 for the Dodgers last season.
Entering play Saturday, Kimbrel has converted all six save opportunities with the Phillies this year.
It’s an early bounce-back for the 34-year-old after he struggled with the Dodgers last season and was removed from the closer role. The Dodgers traded AJ Pollock for Kimbrel with the hopes he would stabilize the backend of the bullpen amid losing Jansen in free agency.
However, he wound up going 6-7 with a 3.75 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and five blown saves.
Craig Kimbrel third-fastest to 400 career saves
Kimbrel became the eighth relief pitcher in MLB history with at least 400 career saves. He joined Mariano Rivera (652 saves), Trevor Hoffman (601), Lee Smith (478), Francisco Rodriguez (437), John Franco (424), Billy Wagner (422) and Jansen (401) in the 400-saves club.
Kimbrel is the third-fastest to reach the mark by doing so in his 730th career appearance. That was bested only by Rivera (697 appearances) and Hoffman (706).
Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!