Dodgers' Pitcher Ross Stripling, Tough Guy or Old Softie?
Love Ross Stripling. Gotta love the Strip (insert first Seinfeld reference here).
And what's not to love? He's always smiling, he does good work in the community and he's got a great Twitter feed. And he does everything the Dodgers ask of him.
In four years bouncing between the starting rotation and the bullpen, Stripling has managed four sub-4.00 ERAs, with a 3.02 and 3.47 the last two seasons. The lifetime numbers looks like this: 3.51 ERA, 3.60 FIP, 1.196 WHIP, with 377 strikeouts in 388 innings. He was an All-Star in 2018 and a savior for his club in the first half, during which he went 8-2, with a 2.08 and 1.080. So you'll understand if I sing the man's praises from time to time.
I was critical of the Dodgers' swap of Stripling, along with Joc Pederson, in an absolutely awful trade to Anaheim, blown up for no good reason by Angels buttinsky owner, Arte Moreno. A paltry $2.1 million Strip and Joc for $.7.75 mil? Are you kidding me? I, for one, will be forever thankful for the Halo's folly.
But look, as much as I admire Stripling, the idea that he'd consider throwing an errant pitch at a Houston batter is not helpful. It's in character that he was rather mild mannered about it, but still.
From Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com: "[He] was asked if he would consider throwing at Astros hitters if he were to face them this coming season. Stripling thought about the question for a few seconds before arriving at an answer. I would lean toward yes ... In the right time and in the right place. Maybe I give up two runs the inning before and I got some anger going. Who knows? But yeah, it would certainly be on my mind."
It's not a great look. I mean, sure, giving Strip the benefit of the doubt that we was only going to plunk the thoroughly-unlikable Josh Reddick on the posterior or square in the back, once and only once, it’s unbecoming of a Dodger, and rather un-Stripling-like.
Dodgers don’t go out of their way to hit Arizona players, for example, even after years of HBPs by command-less pitchers. Maybe they grouse about it in the post-game for a couple of minutes, but the response isn't to risk suspension and injury to your own guys by instigating a fight with an inferior opponent. Instead what L.A. does is go out and beat them.
Throughout his career, when Steve Garvey would hit the deck with a brush-back pitch, he’d pop right back up, jump into the batter’s box and challenge the pitcher to get him out. Then, often on the next offering, he’d hit a liner through the box, in as close proximity to the pitcher’s noggin as possible. Or a double in the gap someplace.
Houston and Los Angeles do not meet during the 2020 regular season, and with targets on their back — not to mention the unavailability of electronics to help them win — it’s doubtful that the Astros will get anywhere near the World Series this fall. If by some freak of nature they do, however, the Dodgers can take care of business there. The Dodger Way.
That’s not Strip. This is Strip. This is Strip. And this is Strip. And ask the kids at Saugus High, because this is Strip. If given the chance, I'd love to give him a hug. And so would you. Ross Stripling is an old softie. And we like him that way.
And remember, glove conquers all.