Last night, rookie Ross Stripling had struggled through five innings of work, but he had the Los Angeles Dodgers in a position where they weren’t actually losing. Heading into the bottom of the fifth, the Dodgers and Miami Marlins were tied at 2-2. So, it was a curious thing to see as Stripling went up to the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning.
At the point when Stripling batted with one out in the bottom of the fifth, he had already thrown 95 pitches. They were not stress free pitches, either. He threw 28 in the first inning, 22 in the fourth inning, and 23 in the fifth inning. He gave up a run in the fifth, and was allowed to hit for himself in a tie game in the bottom of that inning. But, manager Dave Roberts had his reasons.
By now, Roberts said, Stripling has been “built up” to last beyond 100 pitches. With the Dodgers trying to stay away from relievers Kenley Jansen, Pedro Baez and Chris Hatcher, and with the Marlins’ bottom four batters lined up for the sixth, Roberts said he wanted to get one more inning from Stripling.
It’s understandable since Roberts was trying to preserve his bullpen after a tough Sunday afternoon affair in the high altitude of Colorado, but it wasn’t like Stripling was exactly having a real go of it out there in the first place. He was struggling with command, with pitch count, and with fooling hitters. That was an issue.
In his 5.1 innings of work, Stripling made 107 pitches. Miami batters swung at 50 of them, but they only whiffed on four of them. That’s not exactly a great ratio. Stripling really isn’t a swing-and-miss pitcher anyways, but this further illustrates the point that he was scuffling out there. It was a curious decision to send his starter back out there, and it didn’t pay off. But the intentions and reasoning made sense. It just didn’t align with what was being shown.