Craig Kimbrel Will Remain Dodgers' Closer Despite Struggles, Dave Roberts Says

Doric SamJune 20, 2022

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 15: Craig Kimbrel #46 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Los Angeles Angels during the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 15, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers won 4-1. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
Michael Owens/Getty Images

Los Angeles Dodgers closer Craig Kimbrel hasn't looked like his usual self this season, but the eight-time All-Star's job doesn't appear to be in jeopardy.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters after Sunday's loss to the Cleveland Guardians that Kimbrel will remain the team's closer despite his recent struggles.

Kimbrel fell to 0-3 and his ERA is up to 4.71 this season after giving up two runs with two outs in the ninth inning of Sunday's game. It was another uninspiring performance that continued a dreadful stretch for the 34-year-old in his first season with the Dodgers:

Jon Weisman @jonweisman

Craig Kimbrel has allowed 24 baserunners and 10 earned runs in his past 12 innings.

Kimbrel has made 12 saves this season. Daniel Hudson is the only other Dodgers reliever to see significant action at the end of games, recording five saves with a 2-3 record.

After establishing himself as one of the most dominant closers in the majors, Kimbrel has been on a sharp decline since he was shifted to the role of setup man after the Chicago White Sox acquired him midway through last season. In 24 appearances in 2021, he posted a 2-2 record with a 5.09 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 23 innings of work.

Despite Sunday's loss, the Dodgers remain in first place in the National League West with a 40-25 record. Los Angeles is 3-5 in its last eight games, but things should turn around as the team begins a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday. The Reds are 23-43 and will be riding a four-game losing streak into the series opener.