Ross Stripling, and his parents, are all grateful first-year Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts sees the potential in the rookie right-hander.
After Roberts pulled Stripling from a no-hit bid in his major league debut, the 26-year-old makes his first home start trying to build on that strong performance Thursday night in the decisive series finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Two years removed from Tommy John surgery, Stripling had not allowed a hit through 7 1-3 innings Friday at San Francisco when Roberts replaced him after he walked Angel Pagan on his 100th pitch. The next batter, Giants backup catcher Trevor Brown, hit a tying two-run homer off Chris Hatcher and Los Angeles (5-4) eventually lost 3-2 in 10 innings.
Though it would have been easy for Roberts to regret his decision or for Stripling to whine about being yanked, all parties involved knew it was the appropriate move.
''It was the right call,'' said Stripling, who threw 145 pitches over four spring training games and also appeared in a minor league contest.
''It was a tough decision for him and I certainly had no ill feelings toward the decision one bit.''
Stripling's parents also agreed with the move. His father, Hayes, even personally thanked Roberts the next morning in the lobby of the team hotel for taking care of his son.
"I wanted to see him throw a no-hitter," Roberts told MLB's official website. "I think it's a special moment but we're looking at the long term, and Ross can help us win many more games.
"If it would have went south and something would have happened, I never would have been able to live with myself because this is this kid's livelihood. That's my job.''
As a fifth starter, Stripling knows he must continue to prove himself but certainly earned a second start. At least his manager and teammates are behind him.
"I'm really proud of him, excited for the future and for what he can be as a major league pitcher, and excited to catch him going forward," Los Angeles catcher A.J. Ellis said.
Stripling will try to help the Dodgers to a series win after they posted a 3-1 victory over Arizona (3-6) on Wednesday. Adrian Gonzalez homered for the first time in 2016, and Chase Utley and Yasiel Puig each had two hits to help Los Angeles move above .500.
Puig is hitting .394, Gonzalez .389 with seven RBIs and Utley .324.
Gonzalez is 0 or 8 against Robbie Ray, who went 2-2 with a 2.28 ERA against the Dodgers last year. He earned both victories while yielding five hits over 11 scoreless innings in the last two outings over a 12-day span in September.
The left-hander issued four walks and hit a batter Friday against the Chicago Cubs, but yielded only two runs in six innings while taking a no-decision in the 3-2 victory.
"Early (on), I was getting a lot of early outs and it was just that (third) inning where I just kind of lost a little bit of my focus and had those walks," Ray said.
Teammate Jean Segura had two more hits Wednesday, and is batting .412 through nine games. He's 8 for 19 in his last five games at Dodger Stadium.