Craig Kimbrel's tenure as the Los Angeles Dodgers closer is at least temporarily over as Dave Roberts has pulled the veteran reliever from the 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 was hit with another blown save, entering Thursday against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the ninth inning of a tie game and surrendering a go-ahead solo homer to Christian Walker. The 34-year-old wound up earning the win, with the Dodgers walking it off in the bottom of the ninth."I think the stuff is starting to slide a little bit," Roberts said, according to MLB.com's Juan Toribio after Thursday's win, specifically noting Kimbrel's reduced fastball velocity. "... We've got to have our best guys at the back end."It's the latest in a string of rough outings, as Kimbrel has allowed five runs - four earned - on three hits, including 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, while his 3.22 FIP and career-low 10.77 K/9 rate also indicate his struggles.The Dodgers lost Kenley Jansen, who signed a one-year, $16-million deal with the Atlanta Braves via free agency this past winter. After spending 12 seasons as a closer in Los Angeles, Jansen 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.The NL West champions will now likely turn to Chris Martin, Brusdar Graterol, and Evan Phillips for save opportunities, with Alex Vesia as the top left-handed option.Copyright © 2022 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.
Walker went 2-for-4 with two home runs and three total RBI in Friday's 12-3 loss to the Padres.
Christian Walker clobbers a solo home run to left field in the bottom of the 4th inning to get the D-backs on the board, 4-1