To say Craig Kimbrel has been shaky this postseason would be an understatement.
The Boston Red Sox closer has allowed at least one earned run in each of his four playoff appearances, including Wednesday night’s pulse-pounding outing against the Houston Astros in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.
Kimbrel ultimately recorded a six-out save Wednesday as Boston prevailed 8-6 at Minute Maid Park to take a 3-1 lead in the ALCS, but he walked three, surrendered two hits and plunked a batter while giving up a run. It took an impressive throw from Mookie Betts to begin the eighth inning and an excellent diving catch by Andrew Benintendi for the game’s final out to lock down the victory.
Kimbrel was asked after Boston’s win in Houston about his rocky Game 4 performance, a continuation of his previous struggles this postseason. He offered a response that was both direct and honest.
Good call, Craig.
While the Red Sox have managed to win in spite of Kimbrel’s control issues, it’s a dangerous way for a closer to live, especially when facing the potent New York Yankees in the AL Division Series and the defending World Series champions in the ALCS with a trip to the Fall Classic on the line.
It’ll be interesting to see whether Boston manager Alex Cora handles the seven-time All-Star any differently moving forward, but the skipper has shown a lot of faith in Kimbrel’s ability to this point — at the risk of giving every Red Sox fan a heart attack.
Thumbnail photo via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images
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