Kimbrel closing in on a no-hitter


AP Photo/Alan Diaz

Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel continues to dominate every opponent in the ninth inning, and a streak that began nearly a month ago is starting to get very impressive.

In his last eight innings pitched, Kimbrel hasn’t allowed a single hit. It was back on May 11 at St. Louis when Kimbrel last allowed a hit, meaning that it had been 27 days since he last allowed a hit in a baseball game, going into Thursday night.

It’s not easy to scorch the earth the way Kimbrel has, even though he makes it look extremely methodical.

With a fastball that routinely flirts with 100 mph and a dominant slider, he has all the tools necessary to be the league’s best closer for years. And after years of Braves fans worrying about the ninth inning being a question mark, Kimbrel has been the exclamation point they need to win crucial ballgames.

In his first three seasons, Kimbrel has never logged an ERA higher than 2.10 for a year. His 17 saves in 2012 are best in the National League, and his 34 strikeouts are best among full-time closers.

Oh, and he’s only allowed four runs on just 10 hits in 21 innings pitched this year.

If he throws one more hitless inning during this torrid month, Kimbrel will have a full nine innings of no-hit baseball. I think the Braves should give him a nice little celebration on the field, because that’s pretty tough to pull off.

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