Craig Kimbrel appears to have righted the ship. With his first appearance since May 9, Kimbrel garnered his twelfth save of the season in an 8-5 victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night.
During a five-game period between April 24 and May 7, the Atlanta closer had 3 blown saves, surrendering 5 earned runs in 4.2 innings of relief work. To put such into perspective, Kimbrel had 3 blown saves in all of last year, a phenomenal season in which he saved 42 games with a 1.01 ERA.
Coming into the game in the ninth-inning, Kimbrel surrendered a leadoff single to Skip Schumaker. Kimbrel would respond with back-to-back strikeouts of Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier, leaving them whiffing at upper-90s fastball. A groundout to shortstop by Matt Kemp would end the ninth and the game.
Kimbrel looked effective, mixing up his pitches and locating his fastball well. His slider had great movement down and in, while his fastball was a swing-and-miss pitch topping out at 98 MPH.
With this win, the Braves improve to 23-18 on the season, maintaining a one-game lead over the Washington Nationals in the NL East.