Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Will Smith, left, greets relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel.

Should Dodgers trade for a closer?

Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Will Smith, left, greets relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel.

Dodgers reliever Craig Kimbrel celebrates with catcher Will Smith after a 5-4 win over the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on Friday night. Kimbrel conceded two runs in the bottom of the ninth but hung up for the save. (David Zalubowski / The Associated Press)

Time and again, Dave Roberts has insisted that his Dodgers team has no major needs in Tuesday’s trading time frame.

On Friday night at Coors Field, however, he was reminded of one of the biggest issues he has to address.

Although the Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies for a second straight night, trailing 5–4 on home runs from Will Smith and Treyce Thompson’s opening two runs as well as a strong seven-innings start from left-hander Julio Uriás The game ended very close. it should have been.

The end worked to defend a three-run lead, with close Craig Kimbrell making another save for two in the ninth.

“We’re always evaluating,” said Roberts when asked about Kimbrel after another nearly disastrous outing from the veteran. “He’s close to us, but performance matters, especially at the end of the game.”

Despite the late drama, the Dodgers are 67-32. They maintained a 12-game lead in the division. And since losing one game after another in Denver last month, they have won 22 of their last 26, including each of their last three and the first two of this four-game series.

At the start of the eight-game journey “to win a few games”, Roberts said, “no one could have started better.”

Friday night, however, almost took a turn for the worst.

Leading 5-2 since the third inning, thanks to an impressive start from the Ureas and an eighth point from setup man Evan Phillips, the Dodgers seemed safe when Kimbrella came into the game.

The right-hander opened the innings from groundout, conceded a single to Kris Bryant, but then dismissed CJ Cron to take the Dodgers to the pinnacle of an easy win.

Then Brendan Rodgers bounces a base hit to the right. Jose Iglesias took a full-count walk to load the bases. And Randall Grichuk drove to the left with a line-drive single in two, pulling the Rockies to within a run.

Facing another full count at the next bat, Kimbrel bowled an inside fastball that was cut the other way by Ryan McMahon.

Dodgers starting pitcher Julio Ureas delivered against the Colorado Rockies in the seventh inning on Friday.

Dodgers starting pitcher Julio Ureas delivered against the Colorado Rockies in the seventh inning on Friday. (David Zalubowski / The Associated Press)

Off the bat, it looked like his brilliance could fall near the line in left field. But then, at the last second, Thompson came flying with a sprinting catch—her momentum carried her into the netting in front of the stands after being dismissed in the final.

“I think I’ve got a good bead on it,” Thompson said, just trying to secure it. “I don’t know if it was the end of the game or something, but I didn’t feel like running too fast for it. Just trying to make a play.”

Although Thompson’s catch saved the Dodgers’ victory, it did little to quell the growing questions surrounding Kimbrel.

The Future Hall of Famer has converted 18 of 21 save chances, but also has a 4.37 earned run average and 1.51 walks plus hits per innings pitch.

He needed 29 pitches to escape Friday’s jam, again struggling to land his breaking ball and find consistent fastball command.

And if Kimbrell had walked in with McMahon, Roberts was planning to pull him, something he already had to do in the middle of a save opportunity this month.

Roberts later said, “I’ll have to see the movie.” “But of course, to get three outs and get close to 30 pitches, that’s not enough, and Craig knows it.”

Asked whether the Dodgers will have a closer role, through a potential trade or internal candidate, Roberts said the team is continuously evaluating.

“No one knows that more than Craig,” Roberts said. “We as an organization are always trying to be better. I have always said so. And he has to keep working on certain things to be more efficient and more effective.

“It’s just the fact.”

It doesn’t look like the Dodgers will be making a pricey splurge for a big-name reliever over the next four days.

Instead, they are largely associated with early pitchers in trade rumors — such as Luis Castillo, before he was dealt with by the Cincinnati Reds to the Seattle Mariners on Friday night in a major trade before this deadline — or star. -Studed activities include phenoms like Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals or the Angels’ Most Valuable Player of the American League, Shohei Ohtani.

For a team that is confident of arriving after the season, and is already gearing up for a deep October race, they are the kind of moves that could propel them to the top.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still small cracks in their foundations — uncovering one of the biggest questions they’ll have to answer on Friday as they coast down the stretch.

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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