After various sports writers across the web were quick to label the Dodgers “dead in the water,” LA is finally starting to show some signs of life. While various players have started to awaken from their slumber, Ross Stripling has been quietly effective all season long.
Your Dodgers are beginning to stick their noses out of the dirt. Somehow, someway, LA finds themselves just a few games out of first place after starting the year looking like the 2005 Dodgers. Many have been quick to point to a couple of stellar starts from Kenta Maeda, who somehow leads the staff in strikeouts.
And of course, there is the surprisingly steady Max Muncy, some improved play from Chris Taylor, and the re-re-awakening of Yasiel Puig. Their recent acclaim has been well deserved, as these guys have been a big part of the team’s recent improved play. However, the versatility of Ross Stripling has given the Dodgers the valuable right-handed pitching production that they were desperately needing.
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Ross Stripling has thrown almost thirty-five innings thus far, trailing on Kershaw, Wood, and Maeda in that category. He’s put up a 2.08 ERA, along with forty strikeouts compared to only 9 walks. His WHIP has been solid and even FIP has been a fan. In other words, he’s been about as dominant for LA as anyone not named Walker Buehler. Stripling has started four games while coming out of the pen in ten others.
That could be one of the more important numbers for Stripling, as his steady versatility has become his calling card since he entered the majors. At a time when the staff has faced an avalanche of injuries and right-handed relievers like Pedro Baez, Daniel Hudson, and JT Chargois have been generally ineffective, Stripling has done anything and everything that’s been asked of him at a moments notice.
That includes May 19th, when Stripling was given the difficult task of facing the Washington Nationals in game one of a doubleheader. This was during the period where the Dodgers were probably at their lowest, having lost nine of their previous eleven games and several stars lost to injury. Stripling pitched brilliantly, giving LA six strong innings of one-run ball. The Dodgers went on to sweep the Nationals, and have since begun playing their best baseball of the season.
Stripling will look to continue his success against the San Diego Padres Friday. After that start, just like the one before, Stripling’s role will be up in the air. He doesn’t ever complain, not even when being removed from a perfect game. Stripling just puts his cleats on and does his job, whatever it may be that day. The Dodgers have faced injury after injury thus far, especially to their starters. If Ross Stripling keeps pitching like he has out of the rotation, his role will be clear going forward.