You can’t fault rookie Ross Stripling for feeling that he belongs in the big leagues after his debut start in San Francisco roughly a week ago. The right-hander tossed 7.1 no-hit innings in his first career start above Double-A, and the Los Angeles Dodgers had to feel fantastic about getting that performance.
Having a good debut can mean a lot for pitcher. It shows them that they have the stuff to belong at this level, and gives them the confidence needed to go forward with their career. That’s exactly how Stripling feels as he gets ready to make his second start of the season, and you can hardly blame him for it.
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“Mentally, it showed I can get guys out at this level,” Stripling said. “You start feeling like you belong, rather than you kind of lucked into this, which might be how some people view it. I was able to back up the fact that they put me here for a reason. Now, I can pitch with some confidence, some swagger, like I had in the minor leagues.”
You have to love the mindset that Stripling has after that fantastic first start. He proved to himself that he has what it takes to succeed at this level, and that boost could help propel him to a solid rookie season no matter how many starts he makes. Stripling obviously will hit a few bumps in the road, but the stuff is there.
All the Dodgers need out of their fifth starter is someone who can eat innings, not be overly worrisome out there, and can get the ball to the bullpen after five decent innings. Just getting innings is a big deal, and Stripling feels confident in his ability to come through for the team on all those tasks.
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