The Dodger’s starting rotation has been hampered by injuries. Clayton Kershaw is on the disabled list with a biceps injury. Rich Hill and Hyun-jin Ryu have battled wounds of their own with Ryu not due to return until after the all-star break. The Dodger’s starting depth has been put to the test this season and has seemed to be depleted. Fortunately Ross Stripling has been a god send for the Dodgers. He’s been quietly producing a solid season.
Walker Buehler may be the new flashy rookie, and the kid has been outstanding. However Stripling has been great wherever he’s asked to perform, whether that be in the rotation, or in the bullpen. We can remember back when Stripling’s career was on life support. He had to have Tommy John surgery before he was ever called up to the big leagues.
Stripling battled back from the surgery and has become a reliable pitcher that the Dodgers can count on. On Sunday afternoon in the first game of the double-header against the Washington Nationals, Stripling turned in another sterling effort. He tossed six innings allowing just one earned run on four hits and struck out nine. He’s been terrific in the month of May. He came into Sunday’s start against the Nationals with a 1.74 ERA this month. Over his last three starts he’s allowed just three earned runs on fourteen hits while striking out 21 against just two walks. In his 15 appearances this year he’s allowed runs in just four of them. Overall he has a 2.08 ERA with a 9.7 K/9 rate before Sunday’s start. He’s notched 40 whiffs and walked only 9 in a little over 34 frames.
He’s been good as a starter or as a reliever. But as a reliever he’s been especially tough. He’s recorded a 0.59 ERA pitching in relief. It seems that he does better in shorter stints, but I’m hoping the Dodgers stretch him out a bit. After Sunday’s outing it appears that they are. Stripling who rarely ever is allowed to make over 80 pitches, made 96 in his win over Washington.
We’ve seen Stripling pitch dominantly at times. His near no-hitter against the Giants was a glimpse at how good he can be. He talked after the game about what was working for him. His four-seamer, power curve, slider and changeup combination has been very effective. One of the best aspects of Stripling’s pitching is that he keeps the ball in the park. He’s allowed just two home runs in 2018. Whether Stripling stays in the rotation or goes back to the bullpen and you would assume he will go back to the pen once Clayton Kershaw returns, he’s pitched well. But no matter where he pitches, Stripling is a solid member of the Dodger pitching staff and an important part of their future success.