Craig Kimbrel had the latest of many frustrating outings on Tuesday night, walking three batters in the 10th inning to hand the Padres a 4-3 victory.
Like Kimbrel's overall season, there were flashes of brilliance in the game, most notably when he struck out Manny Machado for the second out with the winning run on third base. But also like the overall season, the flashes of brilliance were almost immediately followed by the kind of frustration that makes you want to pull your hair out, as he got Brandon Drury in a 1-2 count and then threw three pitches nowhere near the strikezone, then walked Jorge Alfaro, which is a crime in 13 states, on several more noncompetitive pitches.
After the game, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was asked about Kimbrel's standing as they get close to having to set a postseason roster, and Roberts was decidedly noncommittal, as Bill Plunkett reports in the Orange County Register.
“Every day is a test,” Roberts said. “He’s gotta go out there. I’ll keep giving him opportunities when it makes sense and we’ll make decisions as we get down the line.”
Kimbrel, for his part, is aware that his playoff spot is on the line.
Kimbrel confidently said he believes he can contribute in the postseason but acknowledged that he has to “prove that.”
“I don’t think I can. I know I can,” he said. “Just gotta do it.”
Kimbrel has a handful of appearances remaining in the regular season to prove he deserves a spot on the roster. With four pitchers potentially returning from the injured list soon, there's going to be way too much roster crunch for anyone to make the team based on reputation.