SAN DIEGO -- Maybe Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez should have given Craig Kimbrel a chance to notch the final five outs in Game 4 of last year's National League Division Series. But as this season has progressed, Kimbrel has provided some indication of why Gonzalez opted not to give him a chance to work multiple innings during that postseason contest.
"He's obviously got the makeup to do it," Gonzalez said. "But to do it is a little more difficult than just sitting in a [television] studio and thinking, 'Oh, he can throw two innings and not everybody can do it.'"
Kimbrel completed his latest shaky multi-inning appearance during Saturday night's 3-2, 12-inning loss to the Padres. The All-Star closer walked the bases loaded and then allowed Will Venable to hit a walk-off single.
"I didn't expect to go out there and give up the walks and lose the game tonight," Kimbrel said. "I expected to go out there, make pitches, throw two innings and then do what I had to. It just didn't happen tonight."
Fatigue seemed to play a part as Kimbrel matched the career-high 38 pitches he totaled on April 21, 2011, when he completed the most recent of the two-inning outings of his career. The 26-year-old hurler has now completed at least four outs in seven of his 276 career appearances. He had allowed a run in just one of those previous six appearances.
But this marked the second time this year that he has been shaky while working during two separate innings. As he walked three of the first four batters he faced in Saturday's 12th inning, he conjured memories of May 29, when he entered to end a two-out, eighth-inning threat and then did not retire any of the four Red Sox batters he faced in the ninth.
"You've got to go out there and find out if you can do it or not," Kimbrel said. "I didn't do it tonight. But that doesn't mean I won't do it next time."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.