Kimbrel Getting New role for Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers will have a new closer when they play the series finale Sunday against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Craig Kimbrel has been removed from that role by manager Dave Roberts after struggling for most of the last three months.
The Dodgers are looking at employing a closer by committee approach with set-up man Evan Phillips likely to get the first crack at the job. Tommy Kahnle pitched the ninth inning Saturday as the Dodgers beat the Cardinals 6-2 to move to within one win of tying the team mark for wins in a season, but it was not a save situation.
“He was very open to doing whatever is best for the ballclub,” Roberts told the media of Kimbrel, who has blown five of 27 saves chances. “I feel good about it and we’ll see where it takes us.” Kimbrel is six saves shy of becoming the seventh man with 400 career saves.
Nootbaar Finding His Stroke for Cardinals
Mired in a slump for much of September, Lars Nootbaar busted out with home runs in back-to-back games for the Cardinals. Prior to Thursday’s game with the San Diego Padres, in which the 25-year-old reached base three times, including a home run, scored twice and drove in a run, Nootbaar was 4-for-44 for the month.
Nootbaar has run hot and cold all season for the Cardinals, batting .150 in April, May, June and September and .294 in July and August. Through it all, Nootbar has still managed to get on base quite often via the walk.
The eighth-round pick out of USC is fifth in BB% (15.2%) among all major leaguers with at least 250 plate appearances, just ahead of the New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge (14.9%). Nootbaar has also hit 80 points higher on the road (.269) with more runs scored and RBIs despite similar at bats.
Smith Shining in Cleanup spot
Will Smith is unlikely to be mentioned in the same breath as teammates Trea Turner, Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman but he has proven to be a solid complement to those guys in the No. 4 spot in the order.
The catcher/designated hitter came through with a triple and a home run Saturday and is on pace to match or exceed his career-high 25 homers from last season. “It’s been the ‘Big Four’ for quite some time,” manager Dave Roberts told the media of Smith joining his more famous teammates.
“I think he doesn’t have the name cachet, but if you look at the numbers, he’s solidified the top of order.” Smith, a former first round pick out of Louisville, is second on the Dodgers in home runs (23), third in RBIs (83) and walks (56) and fourth in wins above replacement (3.8). Smith has hit .269 since taking over the No. 4 spots in early July.
Cardinals vs Dodgers Head-to-Head
The Dodgers moved to 3-2 against the Cardinals this season and 8-5 over the last two years.
The Cardinals lead the all-time series 1013-985, including 456-538 in Los Angeles.
Cardinals vs Dodgers Information
- Game: Cardinals (89-64) vs Dodgers (105-47)
- Location: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
- Day/Time: Sunday, Sept. 25th, 4:10 p.m. ET
- Cardinals vs Dodgers Live stream: MLB.tv
Cardinals vs Dodgers Betting Lines
|+125||9 -125o||3½ +120u|
||-140||9 +105u||4½ +105u|
Cardinals vs Dodgers Prediction
Michael Grove will get the start for the Dodgers and will try to nail down his first major league victory. The right-hander has made five appearances and four starts spread out over four months this season and has allowed at least two runs in each of them.