The Los Angeles Dodgers’ unlikely trio of All-Star players has a wide range of experience at the Midsummer Classic. Closer Kenley Jansen is in his third straight All-Star game but is the only returner from the six Dodgers who made it last year. Outfielder Matt Kemp is also in his third after getting voted in as a starting outfielder but had not made it since 2012.
Ross Stripling, however, is in his first ever All-Star game. The unlikely ace of the Dodgers’ first-half starting rotation was named as a replacement after initially missing the cut. It is unknown whether he will actually pitch in the game, but having manager Dave Roberts and most of the Dodgers’ coaching staff overseeing this year’s National League will not hurt.
Stripling, for his part, is just enjoying the ride. He particularly likes being around players he usually competes with, per Allison Footer of MLB.com:
“They’re guys I’ve faced in the division the last three years and don’t know anything about, besides their on-the-field demeanor,” Stripling said. “Now, getting to meet them off the field, it’s really neat. It’s what I looked forward to the most.”
Some of those division rivals, like Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt, will bat near the top of Roberts’ lineup Tuesday. Brandon Crawford will also start at shortstop. Along with Kemp, that puts a representative from every NL West team except the Padres in the All-Star starting lineup.
If Stripling does pitch in the game, it will be out of the bullpen, which he is no stranger to. He spent all of 2017 as a reliever and started 2018 there before injuries pushed him into the starting rotation. He never left, posting a 2.01 ERA over 13 starts since May 6.
Many Dodgers fans (including our own Jeff Spiegel) were outraged when Stripling, a fan favorite, was passed over in the initial selection of pitchers to the National League All-Stars. However, he eventually made the team when Miles Mikolas pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals Sunday, making him ineligible for Tuesday’s game.
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