Dodgers leave RHP Craig Kimbrel off NLDS roster vs. Padres

ByAlden Gonzalez ESPN logo
Wednesday, October 12, 2022

LOS ANGELES -- Craig Kimbrel, an eight-time All-Star with 394 career saves, was left off the Los Angeles Dodgers' initial postseason roster on Tuesday, a somewhat expected outcome given his season-long struggles in the ninth inning.

The Dodgers are expected to go with a closer-by-committee this month, beginning with a National League Division Series matchup against the NL West-rival San Diego Padres.

"It hasn't been a consistent year for him," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Kimbrel. "We just have other guys that we felt had been more consistent and that match up with these guys better."

Blake Treinen, who had been dealing with the same shoulder issues that limited him to five appearances all season, was deemed healthy enough to pitch in this series, a big lift for a Dodgers team that would love to use him as their key bridge to the ninth inning. Treinen's presence seemingly opens the door for any number of Dodgers relievers -- Evan Phillips, Tommy Kahnle, Alex Vesia and Brusdar Graterol, among them -- to handle the ninth.

Chris Taylor, who had been battling stiffness in his neck, took part in live batting practice at Dodger Stadium during Monday's workout and will probably handle the bulk of the left-field work in this series. The Dodgers opted to include all six of their starters in the NLDS roster -- including Dustin May, who will probably contribute multiple innings out of the bullpen -- and went with the maximum 13 pitchers. Miguel Vargas replaced Hanser Alberto to provide more offense off the bench, and lefties David Price and Caleb Ferguson were left off the roster.

Kimbrel had an up-and-down first season with the Dodgers, posting a 3.75 ERA and a career-low 27.7% strikeout rate. His first one-run save didn't occur until the middle of August. A little over a month later, after a brief run of success, he was removed as the team's closer.

"It was a tough conversation. It's a person, a player I have so much respect for," Roberts said of leaving Kimbrel off the roster. "He was very disappointed."

Game 1 against the Padres begins at 9:37 p.m. ET on Tuesday, with Dodgers lefty Julio Urias facing Padres right-hander Mike Clevinger. All five of the Padres' starters made the NLDS roster, including Sean Manaea, who had an 11.72 ERA in 17 innings against the Dodgers this season.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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