The Los Angeles Dodgers expect to head into the 2020 season with a ton of starting pitching depth as they have eight or nine arms who are worthy of being in their Opening Day rotation.
One of those is Ross Stripling, who is off to a strong start this spring. After tossing a scoreless inning in his first Cactus League outing, Stripling took the mound against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday afternoon and had another positive start.
The right-hander gave up a leadoff double to Jon Jay but then responded by retiring the next six hitters to complete two scoreless innings of work.
While facing a division opponent during the spring can be tricky for pitchers as they often don’t want to tip their hand in advance the regular season, Stripling does not harbor much concern over that aspect, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“Appreciate may not be the word I would use but it’s a good barometer to test where you’re at. These guys have seen me know for four-plus seasons. They know what’s coming and they know my repertoire, so to be able to get through basically the strength of their lineup once is a good test for early in Spring Training. … Good to see those guys. Obviously you don’t want to give them too much right off the bat but once you get up there and compete, you’re going to show them your best stuff. That’s just the way it is.
“It’s interesting, because I’m working on this changeup, and they threw out five or six lefties at me today. So I threw a bunch of them but now they’ve seen it before the season has started. You think about that kind of stuff but at the end of the day you’re worried about yourself, being healthy and building up. You’re taking it serious but maybe not as seriously as one of the 162. Everyone is working on different stuff. That’s kind of just how I think about it.”
As it currently stands, Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, David Price and Julio Urias are all locks to make the rotation if healthy.
That leaves Stripling competing with Alex Wood, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and Jimmy Nelson competing for that final spot. However, the latter two are both dealing with injuries that limit their chances.
This spring has already been a whirlwind for Stripling after almost being traded to the L.A. Angels along with Joc Pederson. Now that he knows he is remaining with the Dodgers, focus can squarely remain on preparing for 2020 season to help the club win its eighth consecutive National League West title.
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