Dodgers remove Kimbrel from closer's role
The Dodgers will now approach the ninth inning with matchups and use Kimbrel in a different role. Roberts would not commit when asked whether this would extend into the postseason.
"I don't know," the L.A. skipper said, according to The Athletic's Fabian Ardaya. "I think that's where we're at right now. Nothing is cemented, but we think that’s the best way to go about it right now."
The move comes one day after Kimbrel surrendered a go-ahead solo homer to Christian Walker in the ninth inning of Thursday's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The 34-year-old wound up earning the win after the Dodgers walked it off in the bottom of the ninth.
"I think the stuff is starting to slide a little bit," Roberts said after Thursday's win, according to MLB.com's Juan Toribio, specifically noting Kimbrel's reduced fastball velocity.
He added: "We've got to have our best guys at the back end."
It's the latest in a string of rough outings for Kimbrel, who's allowed five runs - four earned - on three hits, two homers, and two walks over his last four appearances.
The eight-time All-Star currently possesses a 4.14 ERA over 54 1/3 innings, as well as a 3.22 FIP and a career-low 10.77 K/9 rate.
The Dodgers lost Kenley Jansen this past winter after he signed a one-year, $16-million deal with the Atlanta Braves. Jansen - who spent 12 seasons as Los Angeles' closer - owns a 3.63 ERA and 3.41 FIP in 57 innings with his new club.
Immediately before the 2022 campaign got underway, the Dodgers exchanged outfielder AJ Pollock for Kimbrel with the Chicago White Sox. Pollock has hit .242/.288/.385 over 128 games in the South Side.