Sunday afternoon was one to forget for Dodgers fans. LA was just two outs away from completing a home sweep of the San Diego Padres, but then, disaster struck. Closer Craig Kimbrel recorded the first out in the ninth, but was then struck in the back by a Jake Cronenworth. There was a brief pause in play and it seemed to be Kimbrel's undoing.
Padres slugger Luke Voit hit a ball off the top of the fence to tie the game at 1-1, and then, Eric Hosmer drive in a run to take the lead for good. The Dodgers brought in Yency Almonte to try to put out the fire, but he gave up a two-run shot to Ha-Seong Kim and the Padres wrapped up a 4-2 win.
On top of the loss and letting the sweep slip through their hands, the Dodgers wasted a masterful performance from Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw allowed just four hits in seven scoreless innings, but the offense failed to show up.
After the disappointing loss, manager Dave Roberts stated that he's "not even considering" making a change at closer despite Kimbrel's recent rough patch. In his last 15 games, Kimbrel has a 6.48 ERA and three blown saves. Doc noted that Kimbrel earned the opportunity and that the injuries to the bullpen made the decision that much easier.
Kimbrel now has a 4.78 ERA on the season and 1.52 WHIP. Not all of the eight-time All-Stars struggles are of his own doing though. His .415 BABIP is the second highest in the majors among relievers and his 1.98 FIP suggests that better times are ahead.
If he can't turn it around, the Dodgers could turn to Blake Treinen once he's returns from the shoulder injury that kept him sidelined since April.
Perhaps once Treinen is available, Doc will start considering a change at closer.