The Milwaukee Brewers have seen struggles from incumbent closer Corey Knebel. It’s time for someone else to replace him. And that someone should be Jeremy Jeffress.
Corey Knebel’s struggles are well-known. He was making it through games recently despite putting runners on base and being put in high-stress situations. But everything came to a boiling point on Thursday afternoon.
Knebel walked the first three hitters he faced, which were the 7-8-9 hitters in the Padres lineup, and had the bases loaded with nobody out. A swinging bunt allowed a run to score, and then Knebel was pulled.
But the runners he allowed on came home to score on a Hunter Renfroe grand slam.
The curveball for Knebel is not working right now, making him a one-pitch pitcher, and that’s not a good sign. It’s time to replace him in the closer’s role. He shouldn’t get any more opportunities late in games down the stretch.
Who Should Replace Knebel As Closer?
One option was Joakim Soria, who replaced Knebel in the 9th inning on Thursday. But he was pulled early from the game with an unknown injury.
Josh Hader has late inning experience and has a couple multi-inning saves this year. But the Milwaukee Brewers like him in that multi-inning set up role instead and won’t likely move him into the closer’s role.
Jeremy Jeffress makes the most sense as a replacement for Corey Knebel in the 9th inning. He’s been the closer before, doing a phenomenal job in 2016 before getting traded to the Rangers in July. Jeffress has been lights out this season, posting a 1.32 ERA in 54.2 innings pitched.
Jeremy Jeffress As A Closer
Jeffress saved 27 games for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2016 with a 2.22 ERA before getting traded to Texas along with Jonathan Lucroy that year.
This season, Jeffress has four saves and was an All-Star despite being a setup man for basically the entire first half.
Jeffress throws strikes and he’s gotten out of some big jams. He’s pitched in big situations before and, unlike Knebel, he’s on top of his game right now. There’s no justification for keeping Knebel in closing opportunities any more. It’s time to change it up and go with the best choice for the job. And that’s Jeremy Jeffress.
The Milwaukee Brewers can’t expect to make the playoffs if they have a questionable closer’s role. They need someone who has been reliable that they can depend on down the stretch. Knebel isn’t that arm right now. And Jeffress is.