3 Dodgers who should be closing playoff games over Craig Kimbrel

Jason Reed
MIAMI, FLORIDA - AUGUST 27: Manager Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers talks to pitcher Dustin May #85 after taking him out of the game against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot park on August 27, 2022 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Bryan Cereijo/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - AUGUST 27: Manager Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers talks to pitcher Dustin May #85 after taking him out of the game against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot park on August 27, 2022 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Bryan Cereijo/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

2. Evan Phillips

Evan Phillips is yet another Dodgers reclamation project that has turned a pitcher from being an unknown into being one of the best relievers in the sport. Phillips learned to throw a cutter with the Dodgers and the results have spoken for themselves this season.

Phillips has pitched in 58 games for the Dodgers in 2022 and is sporting a 1.26 ERA. He has struck out 66 batters in 57.1 innings of work, has walked only 14, and has a 0.75 WHIP, which is as elite as it comes.

The right-hander’s already great numbers are inflated by one bad outing that happened at the very beginning of the season. Against the Detroit Tigers on April 30, Phillips allowed three runs in only two-thirds of an inning. If you remove that one outing, Phillips would have a 0.79 ERA this season.

While Phillips is the best reliever on the Dodgers right now, based on how they have used him this season it doesn’t seem like they will be tasking him with the ninth inning. It seems more likely that Roberts will call on Phillips to be the high-leverage reliever that gets them out of a jam regardless of the timing.

We see this every October. The opposing team will get runners on second and third with one out in a two-run game in the sixth inning. That is when you unleash someone like Phillips to stop the bleeding and turn the ball over to the other relievers.

While that’s his more likely role, it’s still possible Blake Treinen can come back healthy (he should not pitch the ninth) and serve as that high-leverage guy with Phillips shifted to the ninth.

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