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Batting Around: Should the Dodgers stick with Craig Kimbrel or let someone else fill the closer role?

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Throughout the season, CBS Sports MLB experts bring you weekly batting-around roundtables. Breaking news, historical questions, thoughts on the future of baseball, all sorts of things. Last week, we discussed a potential site for future Field of Dreams-style games.We discuss the Dodgers’ closer situation here.

What should the Dodgers do in close combat?

RJ Anderson: At some point they have to consider parking Craig Kimbrel. He has allowed at least one run in four of his last five appearances, and his struggles go back even further than that. It looks like the Dodgers will wait until Blake Treinen comes back before pushing him to ninth? It’s hard to see them make the playoffs.

Matt Snyder: I can’t be Kimbrel. Even if he manages to throw a few strikes at serial hitters, he has too little command. Evan Phillips has been in great shape this season, especially since his late May (since May 26, he has only given up one run in his 30 appearances). It makes sense to give him a shot. Both Blake Treinen and Brusdar Graterol have such and are on minor rehab assignments in his league. Trainen also has experience as an elite closer for his team (2018 A’s) in the playoffs.

There are three easy options you can try over the next few weeks. The good news for the Dodgers is that they have plenty of room for error. There’s no chance they’ll lose the lead in his NL West, and they’re likely going to gain homefield advantage throughout the playoffs and have the best record in baseball. Let Dave Roberts and his front office play a little bit. Dustin May has returned from Tommy John surgery and will be in the rotation after his return. If they decide his arm can handle the difference, his staff could perform very well in relief in the second half of the playoffs, with Young star Ryan Peppiot making some action as a spot starter and May. will take over his fifth spot in the rotation, but Pepiot’s staff could be temporarily relieved.

Finally, let’s catch up: Clayton Kershaw.

Kershaw recently said he is focusing on October as he deals with a back injury. Maybe he can only throw in short spurts. Stacked in depth so it rolls perfectly. How about trying in short relief when Kershaw returns and letting him serve near the playoffs?

It would be really fun.

Mike Axia: The Dodgers have such a huge lead in the NL West (and for the Wild Card Series bye-bye) that it’s tempting to say they should stick with Kimbrel and give him time to figure things out, but There are two weeks left until September. It took him nearly five months for Kimbrel to figure it out, and he’s still not done with it. he has too much responsibility. Blake He Trainen has been sidelined since April 14, but is now a minor player. As long as he’s back to himself after his shoulder injury, of course.

Evan Phillips is the best reliever the Dodgers have, so making him a closer is a no-brainer. He’s very valuable as a fireman facing another team’s best hitter in the biggest situation of the game, Phillips said he’d rather face the bottom of the 8th inning than the bottom of the 9th. I think the Dodgers should give Treenen the first crack in the closing. If that doesn’t work, mixing and matching is the way to go. They said he did it in 2020 — in the 2020 postseason he made five different pitcher saves for the Dodgers — and why he can’t do it again in 2022? There is none.

Dane Perry: I like most dominant relief pitchers that work in tight save situations. That’s Evan Phillips. He’s put more emphasis on the slider and the introduction of the cutter into his repertoire this year has allowed him to reach new heights, and I think his level of dominance in 2022 is generally sustainable. he will be my man That said, I think Kimbrel’s base stats are pretty strong, and some bad luck comes with that high ERA. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he makes it to the postseason.