The Dodgers have the best record in baseball and with 106 wins are one victory away from setting a franchise record, but all is not as good as it looks in La La Land.
Already, Craig Kimbrel has been demoted from the team’s closer role. It didn’t matter on Tuesday night, though, as the struggling 34-year-old righty blew another game for L.A., with the Padres knocking off the Dodgers, 4-3, in what was a brutal 10th inning for the reliever.
Kimbrel wasn’t the only one to blame — the Dodgers were 1-for-17 with runners in scoring position — but he played his part with a pair of two-out walks that included one with the bases loaded to hand San Diego the walk-off win.
“I just missed some fastballs and threw some uncompetitive pitches,” Kimbrel told reporters.
Others contributed to the loss as well — third baseman Justin Turner fell down on a potential inning-ending double play in the first, left fielder Chris Taylor dropped a fly ball in the eighth and Turner committed another error with two outs and the bases loaded. But Kimbrel’s troubles and the current closer-by-committee situation could be problematic come the postseason.
An eight-time All-Star, Kimbrel is 6-7 with a woeful 4.02 ERA since the Dodgers acquired him from the White Sox back in April in a deal for A.J. Pollock.
What does it mean for the Dodgers, who two years ago won the World Series before falling to the Braves in six games in last year’s NLCS?
“I think so,” Kimbrel said when asked if he could still contribute in the playoffs. “I think I’ve got some good pitching to do in the next couple days to prove that.”
Whether he gets that chance remains to be seen, though.
“Like I said, every day is a test,” manager Dave Roberts said. “He has to go out there. I’ll keep getting him out there when it makes sense and we’ll make decisions as we get down the line.”