Ringer gambling expert shares harsh take on Orioles' Craig Kimbrel

Will Craig Kimbrel's postseason struggles come back to haunt the Orioles this October?
Seattle Mariners v Baltimore Orioles
Seattle Mariners v Baltimore Orioles / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

Craig Kimbrel is one of the best closers in modern baseball history. In 15 years, Kimbrel has pitched to a 2.42 ERA and has amassed 430 career saves, good for fifth all time. He has one of the highest strikeout rates ever and will be strongly considered for election to the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible.

But one thing that's escaped Kimbrel is success in the postseason. He was able to capture a World Series ring with the Red Sox back in 2018, but his overall track record isn't what you'd expect from one of the best closers to ever do it.

Kimbrel has appeared in the postseason in nine of his 15 years in the game and has pitched to a paltry 4.50 ERA in those innings. His 24.2% strikeout rate is over 15 percentage points worse than his mark in the regular season, and he has just 10 saves in 30 outings.

Unfortunately for the aging righty, he was a very visible part of the Phillies' NLCS collapse against the Diamondbacks in 2023. Kimbrel coughed up the winning run in Game 3 after Orion Kerkering blew the save two innings prior, and he choked again in Game 4, surrendering 3 runs in the eighth in a second consecutive loss.

Phillies fans absolutely blasted Kimbrel, using him as a scapegoat for their failures elsewhere, and he fled Philly in free agency over the winter in favor of Baltimore.

Craig Kimbrel's has yet to escape his postseason demons in Baltimore with the Orioles

But now Orioles fans, and baseball fans in general, are wary of Kimbrel's ability to get the job done when the game is on the line. Even some in sports media are starting to speak up about the Orioles' need to replace Kimbrel before October.

Raheem Palmer of The Ringer tweeted about Kimbrel, calling him a "washed up loser" and a guy who can't win in big spots.

"Washed up loser" feels a bit harsh for a guy with a 2.95 ERA this year, but to his point, Kimbrel has already blown three saves with the O's in the team's otherwise exemplary first half. It'll be interesting to see how the trade deadline plays out and whether O's GM Mike Elias feels the need to acquire another bullpen arm to work in high-leverage spots in October.

As of today, the trio of Kimbrel, Yennier Cano, and Danny Columbe have been solid at the back of the Orioles bullpen. Kimbrel and Cano have been a bit wild, but none of the group has an ERA over 3.00, and there are some interesting arms in the minors that might serve as bullpen depth down the stretch.

Kimbrel is a near lock to pitch for the Orioles in October. FanGraphs features the O's at a 92.2% chance to make the postseason, so barring a complete collapse, he'll have the opportunity to vindicate himself. Orioles fans will have to find out the hard way whether he can finally conquer those demons.