The Los Angeles Dodgers’ rough start to the season continued on Saturday night with a 5-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, the team with the worst record in the National League when the four-game series at Dodger Stadium began.
The Dodgers did get off to a good start, jumping out to a 3-1 lead in the fifth inning. There was a key moment in the game in the bottom of the fifth, as with two on and two outs in the inning, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts opted to allow Ross Stripling to bat for himself.
Stripling made an out to end the inning, and then in the top of the sixth, he struck out Joey Votto before allowing a single to Scooter Gennett. That marked the end of his night, with Roberts deciding to go with J.T. Chargois.
The right-handed reliever simply did not have it, as he hallowed four hits and four runs. Chargois surrendered a lead that the Dodgers were never able to regain.
After the game, Roberts explained why he didn’t pinch-hit for Stripling when he only left him in for two batters after that, via SportsNet LA:
“Ross pitched really well. But this is the first time Ross pitched into the sixth inning. So six up and down, that’s the first time he’s done that. He hasn’t gotten out of the fourth inning previously and we’re trying to build him up. He kept guys off balance all night and so at that point in time for me, he gets up to 79 pitches, more than he has ever thrown and you get a guy that you feel comfortable to get Suarez out and the guys behind him, and it just didn’t work out. So, very unfortunate.”
The decision proved to be costly, although there is no guarantee that a pinch-hitter would have gotten a hit, or that Stripling would have continued to pitch well if he was left in the game.
Stripling was charged with two runs on six hits in 5.1 innings, setting a career high with seven strikeouts in what was, for the most part, a very strong outing. Stripling is remaining in the rotation until Clayton Kershaw is reinstated from the 10-day disabled list.