According to manager Dave Roberts, right-handed pitcher Ross Stripling will transition back to the bullpen upon his return from the IL. He is currently on the shelf with neck inflammation.
Stripling’s return has been pushed back a week. Still shut down from throwing after recurring neck issues. Will likely return as a reliever, Roberts said.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) August 9, 2019
Stripling suffering an extended setback in his recovery process is not good news, but with the amount of depth the Dodgers possess, there is no need to rush him back. Rookie Dustin May figures to cover the fifth spot in the rotation for the foreseeable future.
Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Walker Buehler, Dustin May, and Kenta Maeda seems to be the set rotation for the time being, but it would not be surprising to see Tony Gonsolin eventually push Maeda to the bullpen in the near future.
When the time comes, Stripling should still be considered an option for the postseason bullpen considering his success against left-handed hitters this season, shown through a 24.4 K% and 3.53 xFIP against them.
Stripling already remains on the fringes of the potential postseason roster and with his health in question, the picture gets even murkier for him.
On the season, Stripling has racked up 76 strikeouts with a 3.64 ERA across 76 2/3 innings of work.
Any extended absence for Stripling has a major impact on the Dodgers considering his invaluable versatility with him being able to both start and relieve with relatively no difference in production.