Of note: This Dodger has been freezing batters

September 11th, 2022

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Sometimes, you just have to “Let It Go.”

And sometimes, it’s OK to give in to superstition. Or just enjoy a little fun as long as it lasts.

Witness the case of Dodgers closer . The right-hander has a strong case for eventual Hall of Fame induction, but his first season in a Dodgers uniform has been mostly a slog. His strikeout rate is the lowest of his career – not that 11.2 K’s per nine innings is something to dismiss – and he was having such trouble completing clean ninth innings that boos rained down in Dodger Stadium during several games.

Then he “Let It Go.”

On Aug. 21, Dodgers players’ significant others got to choose the walk-up and entrance music for Women's Day at Dodger Stadium against the Marlins. Kimbrel’s wife, Ashley, selected “Let It Go,” the signature song from the Disney movie “Frozen.” It was a hit once more, as fans started singing along during Kimbrel’s jog and Dodgers TV broadcasters Joe Davis and Orel Hershiser took note on air about it.

One 1-2-3 ninth inning later, the thunderous guitars of Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle” were on hiatus and the stirring vocals of Idina Menzel were in regular rotation at Dodger Stadium. The before-and-after contrasts (entering Sunday) are striking:

Kimbrel this season before “Let It Go”

3-5, 4.46 ERA, 21 saves, four blown saves, 45 games, 42 1/3 innings, 47 hits, 19 walks

Kimbrel since “Let It Go”

1-0, 0.00 ERA, one save, zero blown saves, seven games, 7 1/3 innings, zero hits, two walks

As much as we’d like to credit Kimbrel’s Disney-fication for his recent success, it must be noted that he has made three appearances on the road during that stretch. So no entrance music, but the same results.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts offered a mundane baseball reason for Kimbrel’s turnaround.

“It’s the breaking ball and being able to have those guys respect it,” Roberts said. “He likes to throw his fastball. It’s a plus fastball. I think it’s been commanded better, but also he’s been striking the breaking ball more frequently.”

For a baseball lifer, that will pass as music to his ears.