The Los Angeles Dodgers received contributions throughout their order with Howie Kendrick and Yasiel Puig combining to help lead the offense in a victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night.
While that was a welcomed sight for the club, so too was Ross Stripling earning his first career Major League win. Stripling was winless in his first seven starts in the Majors. It marked the longest drought for a Dodgers starting pitcher to begin his career since Clayton Kershaw needed 10 starts to earn his first win in 2008 as a rookie.
Along with picking up a win, Stripling also collected his first Major League hit. That it came against his former Texas A&M teammate and roommate Michael Wacha, made it all the more memorable, even if it wasn’t a banner night for either pitcher.
“It wasn’t necessarily the sharpest game by any means. I don’t think me and Wacha will look back and think of this as the best game we ever pitched, but it was a lot of fun,” Stripling said.
“To get the first hit off of him is kind of funny and to get the first win is really cool.” Stripling allowed four runs over five innings, taking a step back from his strong outing against the Toronto Blue Jays.
He nonetheless earned himself a dinner on Wacha’s dime, and intended to take every advantage of it at a dining venue that had yet to be determined. “I’m definitely getting the lobster,” Stripling quipped. “Maybe nice a bottle of wine. Maybe a steak to go.”
The two exchanged in some trash talking leading up to their start, which led to the friendly wager being set. Stripling was presented with two baseballs from Friday’s game — one commemorating his first win, and the other for his hit.
“I’m definitely going to get Wacha to sign the first-hit ball,” Stripling said. “I already texted him.” He added the ball for his first win is what will likely hold the longer sentimental value.
As for going toe-to-toe against Wacha, Stripling said it was something the former roommates once dreamed of. “I don’t think it was, ‘When we get to the Majors.’ It was, ‘Can you imagine if we get drafted, both make it, and pitch against each other some day? That would be pretty incredible.’ That’s part of college baseball,” Stripling said.
“You sit around and talk about it and hope. For it to come true like this is pretty neat. I don’t think we’re both pumped about the way it went, it was a goofy game for both of us, but we’ll look back and cherish this moment that we were able to pitch against each other.”
Overall, Stripling has served as feasible fifth starter for the Dodgers, 1-2 with a 4.26 ERA, 3.37 FIP and 1.32 WHIP in seven starts.