Back on Aug. 21, the Los Angeles Dodgers honored “Women’s Day” by having their players change their walk-up/walkout songs to whatever their significant others wanted to choose. For closer Craig Kimbrel, he went from “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses to … “Let It Go” by Elsa (performed by Idina Menzel) from the movie Frozen.
Little did anyone realize that this may have marked the turning point for Kimbrel in a Dodgers uniform.
Before the walkout music switch, Kimbrel was sporting a 4.46 ERA and hadn’t pitched a clean inning since July 21. Fans were enraged with his performance as the team’s closer and were elated when manager Dave Roberts finally opened up the idea of not having Kimbrel close games when October arrived.
But then the power of Disney took hold. Since Aug. 21, when Kimbrel made the music change and stuck with it, he hasn’t allowed a hit in six appearances. Five of those six appearances were totally clean, with the exception of his 1.1 innings of work against the Marlins on Aug. 29 where he allowed two walks.
Now, it’s certainly helped that three of those six games came against Miami and the other three were against the Padres (who the Dodgers own) and the Giants (who Kimbrel somehow owns in 2022), but the numbers don’t lie!
Craig Kimbrel has been a new man for the Dodgers since coming out to “Let It Go”
Could Kimbrel’s reemergence also help Roberts avoid a previous postseason mistake by relying on the wrong bullpen arm in October because of a shaky unit? It’s possible!
Maybe Kimbrel can close out games when the lights are brightest. Maybe he’s turning back the clock as he lets 2019, 2020 and the second half of 2021 go. Though he’s been frustrating in 2022, his overall numbers are totally “fine”: 3.88 ERA, 1.40 WHIP (well, that’s bad), 2.52 FIP, 22 saves and 62 strikeouts in 48.2 innings.
Perhaps it’s best to not get ahead of ourselves, because Kimbrel’s 4.13 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 15 walks in 24 postseason innings really aren’t good totals by any measure. Regardless, Dodgers fans will enjoy the mini renaissance the right-hander is experiencing at the moment because it’s been a colossal deviation from what everyone watched from April until mid-August.
If anything, it was the perfect time for Kimbrel to get back on track with a month remaining in the season. What’s next? One-upping the Mets and bringing in Idina Menzel to perform this live as Kimbrel jogs out from the bullpen?