The month of October is a top for baseball, not all are playing at the best online casinos since it’s time for the Major League Baseball Playoffs. MLB expanded the playoffs this season, adding to the excitement and drama that always comes with the postseason.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have been a perennial World Series title contender, and you can usually just pencil them into the MLB Playoffs. Los Angeles entered the 2022 MLB Playoffs with the best record in baseball, but they also entered the playoffs with a bit of drama.
When the postseason roster for the NLDS was announced, it was surprising that Craig Kimbrel was not a part of it. This wasn’t a complete shock to those that have followed the Dodgers closely this season, but a name like Kimbrel is supposed to be a part of the playoffs.
Kimbrel has struggled as a closer for the Dodgers this season, and the team will enter the playoffs using a closer-by-committee approach. Some teams have employed that strategy recently, but the Dodgers thought they had a closer when they signed Kimbrel in the offseason.
Kimbrel is an eight-time MLB All-Star and has racked up 394 career saves. He posted a respectable ERA of 3.75 this season in Los Angeles, but the Dodgers never knew what they would get with him on the mound.
Being left off the NLDS roster does not mean the season is over for the closer, as he could be added back for any future series. Kimbrel could also be activated as an injury replacement if someone from the bullpen goes down with an injury.
Kimbrel Has Plenty of Experience
Not only has Kimbrel put up some big numbers throughout his career in regular season games, but he has also shined in the playoffs. There have been eight seasons in which Kimbrel has made at least one appearance in the MLB Playoffs, including back in 2010 with the Atlanta Braves.
The postseason numbers for Kimbrel haven’t always been awe-inspiring, though, and that could have factored into the decision for Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. In 2018, Kimbrel made nine appearances out of the bullpen for the Boston Red Sox and sported an ERA of more than 5.40.
Kimbrel blew five saves this season for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and that’s something that simply can’t be done in the playoffs. The closer also posted a record of 6-7 this season, and that’s way too many decisions for someone that is typically only pitching just one inning.
It is starting to seem like Kimbrel’s best days are behind him, as he hasn’t recorded more than 23 saves since the 2018 season. Kimbrel was a dominant closer with the Braves and Red Sox, but he has been a bit leaky over the last few years.
The Dodgers Aren’t the Favorites
The Dodgers spent the entire regular season as the betting favorites to win the World Series, but that wasn’t the case once the playoffs started. That title belonged to the Houston Astros, partly due to the fact that the American League is viewed as weaker.
Houston was the top overall seed in the American League, and the New York Yankees felt like the only real threat to them in the postseason. The National League field is loaded with great teams, and the Dodgers were stuck dealing with their rivals, the San Diego Padres, right from the beginning.
The Atlanta Braves are also the defending World Series champions, loaded with talent to make another run. The Braves eliminated Los Angeles a season ago, and the Dodgers would love the opportunity to get some revenge in 2022.