Dodgers: Five Positive Takeaways from the First Two Weeks of the Season
Speaking of long relief guys, Ross Stripling has been a pleasant surprise this year. Stripling has tossed 8 ⅔ innings and has only allowed one earned run in six appearances this season. He’s holding hitters to a .205 average but more importantly are the hitters that Roberts is using him against.
Roberts has been using Stripling in high leverage situations, as he’s been called to face Nolan Arenado with the bases loaded and Kris Bryant with runners in scoring position in a tie game. This new found confidence that Roberts has in Stripling is off to a successful start, and frankly, I’m not in any position to want to tinker with it.
One of our contributors played with the idea of moving Stripling to the rotation while Hill gets healthy. It’s not a bad idea; it’s a testament to how well he’s been pitching. But if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Stripling is becoming one of the most reliable arms we have out of the bullpen. What’s great about him is that he’s versatile and can get both lefties and righties out.
Through his first 8 ⅔ innings, Stripling is holding lefties to a .154 batting average and righties to a .250 batting average. Another thing that makes Stripling special is his ability to pitch multiple innings. Roberts knows that he can use him for two or three innings, but also rely on him to get a big out against a big bat.
I wouldn’t doubt if somewhere down the line this season Stripling makes a few spot starts here and there. But for the time being let him settle into his role and continue to pile up innings. We’ve seen, so many starting pitcher’s careers take off once being moved to the bullpen. Although Stripling is only 27, this could be his calling with the Dodgers.