Among the good news is that Craig Kimbrel’s velocity was solid last night, bouncing back into his more typical 97ish mph range after a couple outings closer to 95 mph. It was worth watching, and still is I suppose, but given his offseason, a longer ramp-up seems appropriate.
The less good news is that the command is still not quite there for a guy who usually has pristine pitch location. It was better last night – he was really targeting the upper part of the zone well with his fastball – but he did walk a guy and hit another. Again, I’m not so much worried about it, given where he is in his process.
And now for the really good news: even without pristine command, Kimbrel still struck out three batters and looked comically nasty in the process:
Good lord that knuckle curve is something else. Willson Contreras couldn’t even catch that last one – thank goodness it was Jose Abreu – and the HBP was another ridiculous one:
That curveball moved more than any pitch I can remember seeing in the last, like, two years. From here to here in the blink of an eye. pic.twitter.com/9NXrnhBY8d
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) July 7, 2019
On the whole, Kimbrel netted a whopping five swinging strikes on 19 pitches, and another five called strikes, too. If that’s a rough command outing, it was a crazy good one.
Craig Kimbrel is nasty.
— OBVIOUS SHIRTS® (@obvious_shirts) July 7, 2019