Craig Michael Kimbrel is a Major League Baseball pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was born on May 28, 1988, in New York City (MLB). The San Diego Padres, Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves, and Chicago Cubs, he was a member of the team. Reliever of the Year two times and World Series champion eight times, he is one of baseball’s greatest pitchers. Pre-pitch stares and triple-digit fastball are two things that have made him one of the most recognizable pitchers in baseball. Six feet 0 inches (1.83 meters) tall and 95 kilograms (210 pounds) in weight, he is a right-hander.
During his first season in 2011, Kimbrel has named the Braves’ closer and recorded the most saves ever by a rookie in the Major League Baseball. The National League (NL) named him its 2011 Rookie of the Year. For four straight years (2011-2014), he was the NL’s top saves pitcher. He became the youngest pitcher in MLB history to accomplish the milestone of 200 saves in June 2015 with the Padres and 300 saves in May 2018 with the Red Sox.
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Mike Kimbrel and Sandy Kimbrel have a son named Craig. He went to Lee High School in Huntsville, Alabama, where he played football and baseball and was the starting quarterback. When Kimbrel was a baseball player, Buddy Boshers was one of his teammates.
At Wallace State, Community College Kimbrel was educated. For the 2007 season, Kimbrel was the team’s closer and occasional starter for Wallace State, posting an 8–0 record and a 1.99 earned run average (ERA). In 81 innings thrown, he struck out 123 batters and posted a 2.88 ERA in his lone season as a reliever in 2008.
— Juan Toribio (@juanctoribio) April 1, 2022
Alan and Matt are Kimbrel’s brothers. Before being released, Matt Kimbrel spent three seasons in the Braves minor league organization.
In 2012, Kimbrel married Ashley Holt, a former Wallace State cheerleader.
November 3, 2017, marked the birth of the couple’s first child. After two cardiac procedures, she was born with a hole in her heart.
However, Kimbrel opted to stay at Wallace State University in order to increase his chances of being drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 2007 MLB draught. He was then selected by the Atlanta Braves in the third round of the 2008 MLB draught, with the 96th overall pick.
Using a four-seam fastball and a powerful curveball, Kimbrel is able to get outs. His fastball has a range of 97–98 mph (156–158 km/h) with a few outliers reaching 101 mph (163 km/h). With his “spike” grip, he maintains an upper-to-mid 80s curve. The whiff rate of his four-seamer is 33 percent, and the curve is at 52 percent. Strikeouts per nine innings are 14.7 for players with this combination (as of 10 October 2018). He is also tied for seventh among all pitchers from 2002 to 2012 in the percentage of pitches that resulted in a swinging strike %.
Kimbrel’s four-seam fastball was the 12th-fastest among Major League relievers in the 2011 season. As a bonus, his curveball averaged 87 miles per hour (140 kilometers per hour). Whiff rate: 32% for a fastball, 55% for a curveball for relief pitchers; fifth-best among relief pitchers. Known as “Kimbreling” or “Spider Arms,” his pre-pitch stance has also been widely observed.
Craig Kimbrel noticed this White Sox fan impersonating him on the mound last week so they met in person ❤️ @BRWalkoff
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 17, 2021
Kimbrel’s Not So Good May
Seasons aren’t always paved with gold, as anyone can see. The Dodgers will not be slacking off for the rest of the season after losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates for the third time this season. It was a tense, back-and-forth game that ended 6-5 in Pittsburgh’s favor on Monday.
After a rough start, Craig Kimbrel had a one-run lead in the ninth. They tied the game with a one-out walk, and then an RBI hit. Freddie Freeman’s glove was caught by Cal Mitchell’s smash, allowing the winning run to score in the bottom of the fifth inning.
As of this writing, Kimbrel has allowed at least one run in three of his last seven appearances, including Monday’s botched save. A perfect inning has appeared in only three of his sixteen appearances so far.
Los Angeles’ resurgence, which began with a string of individual attempts, was wiped out. After Hanser Alberto’s first home run of the season, Mookie Betts smashed his 15th in the fifth inning. Zach Thompson of the Pittsburgh Pirates threw those pitches.
Reliever Dillion Peters struck out Edwin Ros on his first pitch in the sixth, reducing the lead to 4-3.
With two outs in the eighth inning, Trea Turner doubled against Pirates closer to David Bednar. It was Justin Turner’s turn to hit a two-strike double to even things. There were 70 doubles for the Dodgers in May, one short of the club record set in July 1930 by Brooklyn.
The Dodgers took their first lead of the game on Chris Taylor’s errant pop fly to right field that somehow made contact with the grass.
The Dodgers’ record-setting 22nd extra-base hit of the month by Betts and the first walk of the game by Freddie Freeman didn’t deter Bednar from delivering a high-wire, 50-pitch, four-strikeout save that lasted two innings.
With the victory, the Pirates ended a skid of 12 straight defeats in Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium dating back to 2016.
The @Cubs put together a legendary performance last night.
— MLB (@MLB) June 25, 2021
Locating A fastball
For Buehler, being measured against his own high bar has meant falling short of his goals thus far this season.
This season, there have been no reports of Buehler being injured. Although his strikeout rate dropped early in the year before rising again toward the end of the season, his career strikeout rate of 27% is still significantly behind this year’s 20 percent figure.
Buehler’s difficulties this season may be traced back to the deterioration of his four-seam fastball. He’s getting hammered with his regular go-to pitch, whether it’s due to a lower spin rate or a lack of command.
Tucupita Marcano smashed a pitch into the pavilion in the right-center field after a walk and a bloop single on Monday.
As soon as Buehler returned to the dugout at the end of the inning, the Dodgers pitcher whipped his glove into the bat rack with such force that Marcano’s first major league home run, in his 30th career game, was struck at the same speed.
This fastball was one of the most important pitches in the majors over the last three seasons, according to Buehler himself. For the past three years, Buehler’s fastball has placed among the top six in terms of run value, and he’ll be the league’s most valuable pitch in 2020. Prior to Monday’s start, the pitch was ranked 297th among four-seamers this year. On Monday, Buehler pitched 31 four-seam fastballs, none of which resulted in a swing and miss.
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With the four-seam fastball in 2021, he tallied an impressive 80 strikeouts, but so far this season, the pitch has yielded just six. Buehler has used the fastball only a third of the time in 2022, compared to the previous three years, when he used it nearly half the time.
Even though he struggled on Monday, Buehler still went six innings without allowing another run, giving him a season ERA of 3.22 after ten starts.
Buehler will need to find his fastball at some point, whether it’s because he’s coming off a career-high in innings pitched or because he’s using the regular season to fine-tune things for the playoffs after hitting a proverbial wall in the last postseason.