The Los Angeles Dodgers had an unlikely fifth starter when the 2016 season began as injuries throughout Spring Training eliminated multiple options. Carlos Frias and Ross Stripling were left as the last two men standing, and the rookie right-hander earned the nod.
Stripling had his share of bumps in the road but generally proved to be a serviceable start at the back of the Dodgers’ rotation. That was until an extra-innings game forced him into emergency relief and prevented Stripling from making his next turn in the rotation.
As a result he was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City and soon after placed on the disabled list with lower body fatigue.
He’s now back with the club as the Dodgers again found themselves in need of a fresh arm. However, Stripling’s second go around in the Majors has him filling a role out of the bullpen.
According to Andy McCullough of the LA Times, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts intends to continue using Stripling as a reliever:
“I could see him here,” Roberts said. “Where Ross is at in his big league career, with our roster, he makes sense on a winning team in the ’pen, for me. Because I think he gives you that versatility.”
Entering Sunday, the 26-year-old had made two relief appearances since rejoining the Dodgers and looked comfortable both times out. He’s thrown a combined five scoreless innings, allowing three hits and tallying five strikeouts.
Prior to being sent down in May, Stripling went 2-3 with a 4.53 ERA in 45.2 innings pitched over nine games (eight starts). When including his relief appearance against the San Diego Padres, Stripling hasn’t allowed a run over eight innings pitched out of the bullpen.