Ross Stripling Joins Dodgers' Rotation
It was only a matter of time before Ross Stripling found himself back in the starting rotation. The Dodgers made it official Monday night and Stripling will replace Rich Hill beginning Tuesday night.
Those who have stashed Stripling all season are going to be rewarded and if he's still available, add him. The Dodgers were deciding between Stripling and Julio Urias and it wasn't surprising to see Stripling get the job as they limit the innings of Urias.
Stripling was a target for me in drafts considering the history of health problems for Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill and Walker Buehler. It's rare teams go through an entire season with just five starters and Stripling was going to get 15-20 starts. Hill has a flexor tendon injury and will be out until at least August. He has started platelet-rich plasma therapy, so there's still a chance Hill doesn't return.
Either way, Stripling gets a big boost. Stripling opened the season in the starting rotation with Clayton Kershaw sidelined. He made six starts and in 34 innings, allowed 27 hits, ten walks and struck out 32 with a 2.65 ERA and 1.09 WHIP.
The last time Stripling made a start was April 25 and he pitched 4.2 innings. He has been pitching out of the bullpen since and hasn't pitched more than two innings or thrown more than 45 pitches in any game. As a reliever, Stripling pitched 15.2 innings with a 4.02 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and a 16:6 K:BB ratio.
Stripling is scheduled for two starts this week. The problem is he won't be stretched out and he might only go four innings or about 60 pitches in the first start with Urias likely following him. Stripling could get two home starts next week against the Diamondbacks and Padres.
Even if it takes two starts for Stripling to build the pitch count, he's going to be helpful. He is backed by one of the best offenses in baseball and has shown in previous seasons that he can succeed as a starter. He is an All-Star caliber pitcher, and if not for the Dodgers' pitching depth, Stripling would have been starting long ago.
In 106.1 innings as a starter in 2018, Stripling had a 3.39 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 27.2 percent strikeout rate and 3.7 percent walk rate. Although it has taken three months, Stripling owners will be rewarded for their patience. Remember, baseball is a long season and stashes can pay off and be a difference in winning.