The Los Angeles Dodgers have all but arrived at a decision for their fifth starter, with Carlos Frias and Ross stripling the remaining candidates.
“I think where we stand, it’s Frias or Stripling,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after Thursday’s loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Whereas the wheel was spun once more after it appeared the Dodgers tabbed Mike Bolsinger as the answer to their problem, injury shouldn’t interject with their second decision.
Stripling, who started on Tuesday, isn’t scheduled to throw again until Sunday. Frias threw 3.2 innings of relief on Wednesday. Frias broke camp with the club, while Stripling remained in Arizona.
Stripling would need to pitch again on Sunday in order to remain on track to start for the Dodgers on April 8 against the San Francisco Giants. That presumably would need to take place at Camelback Ranch, as the Dodgers have an off day before beginning the 2016 season on Monday.
Frias needs to throw a side session on Monday in order to remain in line for a regular-season start. Adding another layer to the decision is Dodgers must submit their 25-man active roster by 9:00 a.m. PT Sunday morning.
Of course, that won’t be an issue if the Dodgers have privately made their decision. “We have a good idea,” Roberts said with a smile and wink when asked if he knew which right-hander would receive the nod.
No matter if the Dodgers select Frias or Stripling, Roberts said the designated fifth starter won’t necessarily be limited to a one outing and then shuttled back to the Minors. “Performance definitely means something, so I wouldn’t just limit it to one start,” Roberts said.
“That fifth starter I assume would make a couple of starts. And then we would evaluate from there. But, it’s also based on how they are throwing.” Zach Lee, who was previously in the conversation, was optioned to Minor League camp on March 20.
He started six days later, allowing two runs on eight hits over 4.2 innings. Lee gave up seven runs in 4.2 innings against the New York Mets in his Major League debut last season.
The Dodgers first-round draft pick made his Major League debut last season, allowing seven runs over 4.2 innings in a spot start against the New York Mets; it’s his lone outing in the Majors. Frias went 5-5 in 17 games (13 starts) for the Dodgers last season, posting a 4.06 ERA, 4.32 FIP and 1.47 WHIP.
Stripling, the Dodgers’ fifth-round pick in the 2012 draft, has yet to pitch above Double-A. He missed all of 2014 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. This spring, Stripling had a 4.09 ERA, 1.63 WHIP and 11 strikeouts to four walks over 11 innings pitched in four games (three relief appearances; one start).