Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
If there has been any constant for Ross Stripling in his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, it’s a revolving role due to flexibility of pitching out of the bullpen and as a starter.
He earned a spot in the starting rotation this season when David Price opted out due to coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns. Stripling made his season debut Friday night against the Giants in the team’s second game of the year and tossed a gem to the tune of seven innings pitched while allowing four hits and one runs with seven strikeouts and no walks in the Dodgers’ 9-1 win.
A lot of those strikeouts came on his new changeup, which he has worked on recently to become an effective pitch to add to his arsenal. “A lot more confident, for sure,” Stripling said.
“New grip, kind of had it in Spring Training and then almost got away from during quarantine but brought it back and then worked on it hard during Summer Camp. Throwing it to our guys and getting some feedback from them and they said keep working on it, keep chucking, and I was able to throw a handful of really good ones tonight.
“I’ve faced some of those hitters over there many times, and feel like I got some swing-and-misses on the changeup, so maybe a new wrinkle they haven’t seen. Good to get some instant feedback from it. Just going to continue throwing it.”
The Dodgers have one of the deepest starting rotations in all of baseball, and they have proven why the last two nights with Stripling and Dustin May both filling in admirably for Price and Clayton Kershaw.
Stripling pleased to pitch deep into game
One aspect that Stripling has struggled with when starting in his career has been pitching deep into games. He is as built up as anyone right now and was able to get through seven innings on 92 pitches against a subpar Giants lineup.
While he threw a lot of pitches early, Stripling started cruising once the middle innings came around, which he was pleased with. “I feel like I wasn’t that efficient early,” he noted.
“I know I didn’t walk anyone but I felt like I was in some three-ball counts early. Didn’t love how efficient I was those first few innings. Then Flores hits a single off J.T.’s glove but I get a next pitch double play and just like that you’re efficient and you can build off of that.
“A little early-season jitters getting back into it and facing someone that’s not in a Dodger uniform and all that. I’m glad they let me go back out there. I feel like in the fifth or sixth, if guys got on base, they might bring in Ferguson. I was glad Doc stuck with me and let me get through seven.”
Stripling’s next outing will likely come on Thursday against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field, where he will have an opportunity to improve to 2-0 on the season.
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