Craig Kimbrel has allowed more runs in non-save situations than in any season in his career

by Bill Chuck on July 6, 2016

After another non-ace appearance by David Price, Sox all-star closer Craig Kimbrel entered the game in the 9th with the score Texas 3, Boston 2. By the time his time was up, the score was Texas 7, Boston 2, and that’s how it would end. For the first time in his career, Kimbrel allowed four runs and and also for the first time in his career, he was unable to record an out.

Kimbrel has been awful in non-save situations

To say that Kimbrel is a different pitcher in save and non-save situations is an understatement of massive proportions.

W L W-L% ERA G SV IP H R ER HR BB SO BF WHIP
in Sv Situ 0 1 .000 1.45 19 17 18.2 9 4 3 1 3 27 67 0.643
in non-Sv 1 2 .333 6.75 14 0 13.1 12 10 10 2 10 21 63 1.650
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/6/2016.

Kimbrel hasn’t always been bad in non-save settings

But he is this year (and hasn’t been great the past two years either).

Year W L W-L% ERA G IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO WHIP
2010 4 0 1.000 0.49 18 18.1 7 2 1 0 14 1 36 1.145
2011 3 1 .750 1.85 25 24.1 15 6 5 2 12 1 39 1.110
2012 3 1 .750 1.00 18 18.0 9 2 2 1 5 0 31 0.778
2013 4 1 .800 0.66 14 13.2 11 1 1 0 4 0 14 1.098
2014 0 3 .000 4.76 12 11.1 11 7 6 1 8 0 17 1.676
2015 2 2 .500 4.02 18 15.2 15 8 7 1 16 1 25 1.979
2016 1 2 .333 6.75 14 13.1 12 10 10 2 10 0 21 1.650
Career 17 10 .630 2.51 119 114.2 80 36 32 7 69 3 183 1.299
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/6/2016.

Kimbrel has been a magnificent reliever over the years

Kimbrel has only allowed as many as three runs three times in a career spanning 388 appearances, but two of them have occurred this season in 33 games and both have been in non-save settings.

Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR
2016-04-11 BOS BAL L 7-9 9-GF, L 1.0 1 3 3 2 2 1
2016-07-05 BOS TEX L 2-7 9-9 0.0 3 4 4 1 0 1
2015-04-29 SDP HOU L 2-7 9-9 0.1 2 3 3 1 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/6/2016.

Boston needs Kimbrel to pitch like Kimbrel every time out

The weaknesses in the Red Sox rotation is obvious, but it should be noted that only the Twins bullpen has allowed more runs per game than Boston’s.

Tm RA/G ▴ G GR
CLE 3.83 83 241
HOU 4.13 84 251
TOR 4.21 86 241
SEA 4.27 84 234
KCR 4.30 83 234
CHW 4.32 84 253
TEX 4.45 85 252
NYY 4.49 83 222
LgAvg 4.56 84 246
BAL 4.63 83 218
TBR 4.72 83 239
DET 4.83 84 247
LAA 4.86 84 275
OAK 4.95 84 274
BOS 4.96 83 233
MIN 5.40 83 273
4.56 1256 3687
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/6/2016.

As Yogi reputedly said…

Yogi Berra may have been referring both to the Boston bullpen and the Red Sox chances when he said, “It’s getting late early.”

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