Due to several injuries in their starting rotation, the Los Angeles Dodgers named Ross Stripling, who’d yet to pitch in the Majors, their fifth starter days before the 2016 regular season began.
The 26-year-old rookie was brilliant in his first career start, throwing 7.1 no-hit innings. He was removed after reaching 100 pitches, with Dodgers manager Dave Roberts mindful of Stripling’s health moving forward.
Stripling followed that outing by throwing six innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks, but he’s been unable to pitch deep into either of his past two starts. On Monday, Stripling gave up eight hits and three runs in just 3.1 innings.
He earned his first career decision in the Majors — a loss — and acknowledged he wasn’t particularly sharp. “I was able to battle and make a couple of pitches when I needed to. But, they hit a lot of balls hard tonight and I think that showed I wasn’t as sharp as I typically am,” Stripling said.
“I really didn’t throw any good curveballs on the night, as (Giancarlo) Stanton obviously showed. Every inning of my last two starts seems like it’s just been a battle.” Stanton’s solo home run in the fourth inning gave the Marlins a 1-0 lead and was the first homer Stripling allowed.
Only four starts into his Major League career, the Dodgers’ fifth-round selection in the 2012 draft is aware of what other improvements are needed. “If I make a mistake, they’re going to hit it. Their ability to keep at-bats alive against me is something I’m not used to,” Stripling said.
“I’ve never been a big-time strikeout guy, but I’ve certainly been more efficient in my career than I have been the last two starts. I’ve got to find a way to start pitching more efficiently and getting guys out earlier in counts.”
Stripling, who is 0-1 with a 3.22 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 22.1 innings pitched, will next take the mound on Saturday against the San diego Padres.