The Los Angeles Dodgers wrapped up their first road series of the 2020 season on Thursday night, defeating the Houston Astros in 13 innings to complete a two-game sweep in the highly-anticipated series at Minute Maid Park.
The Dodgers now roll into Arizona for a four-game series with the Diamondbacks before closing out their longest road trip of the season with a three-game set against the San Diego Padres.
Ross Stripling makes his second start of the season in the series opener, four days into the Dodgers’ road trip that’s come under the scope of a pandemic and the Miami Marlins experiencing a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
“You know, everything is already so heightened, you’re already worried almost to the extreme so now you just take it up one more level if you can, because you saw how fast it can sweep through a locker room, even with the protocols and precautions that were taken,” Stripling said.
“So now it’s, if you were at a 10, now take it to an 11. Just be as cautious as you can, wear the mask, stay six feet apart, all of the stuff that we’re already preaching and just doing it even more if you can. That’s just kind of all you can do.”
Stripling is from Texas, so typically when the Dodgers play the Astros or Rangers, he would have an opportunity to see some friends and family members. Not being able to due that was strangest part of the first road series for him.
“I can’t go see them, and that’s certainly weird,” Stripling said. “Normally you would have this circled on your calendar for months ahead, getting tickets for your buddies and all that stuff. So that has been a bummer to come to terms with games here in Houston and not be able to have any of my friends and family in the stands to see them before and after games.
“After that, it’s kind of the stuff at the hotel. Normally, you go get some coffee or after the game maybe go have a drink with a teammate or maybe a buddy on another team, whatever it is, you just can’t do that now. You’re basically kind of confined to your hotel room and that’s kind of all you can do so it’s definitely hard so far but we knew that’s what it was gonna be coming into it so now that we’re here it’s nothing too extraordinary.”
Stripling was permitted to stay at his own residence in the Houston area but given the short series, he elected to remain with the team at the hotel. “I think if you’re trying to get tested at home, I think you have to come to the field early and do like all these different stuff if you’re staying away from the hotel so that’s I just decided not to mess with it,” he explained.
Stripling not flying to Arizona ahead of team
Typically when a team plays a night game and then has to travel ahead of playing the next day as well, the starting pitcher will fly ahead of the team to get to the hotel early and get a good night of sleep.
Stripling didn’t do that due to travel restrictions, so he stuck around for all 13 innings on the Dodgers’ win over the Astros.
“Well we’re certainly not going to fly commercial, so normally I would have kind of came in and got my work done and took a Southwest flight to Arizona or something to get in at a decent hour and get ready for the start tomorrow. You just can’t risk that this year,” Stripling said.
“I did think that maybe there would be some talk of me not coming to Houston at all. Knowing I wasn’t going pitch here no matter what and I can easily just drive to Arizona from Los Angeles and drive to San Diego or just join the team in general. But that never came up, no coach or front office guy came up to me.
“I remember kind of mumbling it with Kershaw and the other guys in the rotation, and I think this first road trip we’re just kind of feeling it out, seeing what the protocol is. But yeah as far as like taking a commercial flight ahead of time, that’s definitely not going to happen.”
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