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Craig Kimbrel has picked a good time to dominate

Rob Bradford
September 22, 2018 - 6:36 pm

Prior to Saturday night's game against the Indians, Alex Cora was asked about Craig Kimbrel. Why? Because the closer has found himself throwing the ball better than at any other point this season, at just the right time.

"Mechanics-wise they found something that was off," Cora told reporters. "It started in Baltimore. He wasn't able to land the breaking ball and obviously, when you become a one-pitch pitcher at this level it's tough. He struggled with command, too. They fixed it and I agree with you. He's throwing his best."

Since that session at Camden Yards the morning of Aug. 12, things have gone pretty well for Kimbrel. Over that stretch he has allowed just one run over 13 outings, giving up three hits. He has also struck out 21 in the 13 innings, walking seven. He has struck out at least one batter in each of the appearances.

Perhaps most encouraging has been Kimbrel's command during his last four outings, a stretch where the righty hasn't walked a batter.

It's interesting to note that according to Kimbrel's curveball carried the highest spin rate of the season in his last two outings. It's a pitch he hasn't allowed hit on since adjusting things in Baltimore.

While he pitched back to back outings Thursday and Friday (just the second time since the Camden Yards get-together he had pitched without a day of rest inbetween), Kimbrel's workload down the stretch has been signficantly lighter than a year ago. From Aug. 12 until Sept. 22 last season he totaled 17 1/3 innings and 296 pitches. He has thrown 85 fewer pitches this time around.