Dodgers’ Roberts Made The Right Call Pulling Stripling

You feel that random burst of warmth making it’s way across the southland despite the soggy fog we saw set in throughout the day? The explanation for it isn’t global warming. Nope. Baseball hot takes are back.

The topic: Managerial decisions, for a change.

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Dave Roberts opted to pull Ross Stripling despite the latter being in the middle of (potentially) the first no-hitter thrown in an MLB debut since a guy named Bumpus threw one in the 1800’s. Now, the decision comes only a day after Roberts dealt with his first bit of controversy after leaving Alex Wood yesterday.

I’ll go ahead and state what should be the obvious: Roberts was right to  pull the kid, coming off Tommy John surgery in pouring rain with diminishing velocity at 100 pitches five games into a 162-game season.

If the lone counterpoint is that maybe the next 30 pitches might’ve gone perfectly enough that history might happen, I’m sorry, but your counterpoint doesn’t have much ground to stand on.

As I wrote yesterday, pulling Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda and Scott Kazmir was fairly obviously to preserve their arms in what appeared already-won games in the first series of the season. Leaving Wood in having thrown only 74 pitches without diminishing velocity and marginal contact made sense as their was at least defensible given the factors at hand.

Tonight, leaving Stripling in would’ve been marginally indefensible, given the factors I listed above. If he’s kept in, risking aggravating that surgically-repaired elbow with so many other Dodgers pitchers out for their own surgeries and he gives up the big hit, then what? Was the risk of everything breaking the right way worth it at that point, or was the end result such that everyone shuts up?

This is all before mentioning that removing Stripling probably gave them a higher probability of winning in that spot. Again, his velocity was dropping and he’d never been in that spot before. This is hardly up for debate, either.

This is the issue with using results as the basis for analysis after the fact.

If Chris Hatcher comes in and does his job, I’m not sitting here at 11 PM on the Friday night trying to get an article done before the Lyft shows up. I’d even argue that if Joe Blanton doesn’t give up a bomb to end the game and the Dodgers wind up winning, the vitriol calms down considerably.

As it stands, however, our Twitter mentions remain a tire fire and Facebook might burn to the ground with even hotter takes.

Would it have been great if the game was played on a sunny afternoon in July and the Dodgers had a seven-run lead? Obviously. Instead, it was a two-run game on a brisk, rainy night in April with 157 games to go. Would the decision have been easier if it was Kershaw on the mound and he was only a couple innings away from a no-hitter? Duh. Again, though, it was Ross Stripling, who hadn’t pitched higher than AA and was only throwing because of injuries to half the staff.

Roberts nickname is, pretty fittingly in this situation, “Doc”. His utmost priority here on top of winning games (which I already spoke about), is to make sure the kid who trusts his manager with his future avoids seeing one.

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  1. We should do a round table about this one. I know i’m in the minority here, but I wouldn’t have pulled him until a hit was allowed. Then, absolutely, yeah, get him outta there.

  2. I’m not going to say pulling Stripling was a mistake, but I wouldn’t be stick to my stomach today if HE had given up the bomb. I would rather a gassed pitcher with an intact no-hitter be out there than a fresh arm that can’t do its job. Pin this one on bullpen.

  3. That decision was the worst decision by a manager regarding removing a pitcher from a game since Mets manager refusing to remove Harvey last year dueing post season. This was a terrible decision. At least wait to see what he would have done on the next batter. He had already off walk but he could have been given the opportunity for a double play to end the threat. This was history in the making. Roberts right now with this lousy decision as well as yesterday’s allowing Wood to swing and hit in a double play rather then bunting the ball tells me that you should be fired!

  4. The only reason why the baseball pundits are saying it was the right decision is because they do not want to go against the grain of the baseball establishment if you will. It was a bad decision. At least leyt him pitch until he gives up hit. The fans wanted a no hitter. Even the Giant fans booed the decision.

  5. That was Stripping’s game to win or lose, he deserved that right. Would he have had to be pitching a perfect game for Roberts to have left him in? Koufax never would have become a legend under Roberts. All four of his no hitters weren’t perfect games. Mattingly has reintered the dugout.

  6. Roberts made a mistake pure and simple. He let the numbers dictate his choice. I found it selfish, he should of thought about the implications of a no hitter in San Fran. This could of been a win you ride into the playoffs. I would of been proud of the kid, even if he lost the no hitter. He battled for his team and played amazingly, and that’s all you can ask for. It’s the first week of the season, let these guys play.

  7. We are to assume Stripling would have no-hit them in the 9th inning.  As if was some automatic thing.
    He was getting tired, and it was obvious.  The issue was with the relief pitcher choice, BUT as we will find out soon, Friedman is running the team.  He is at every game and always in contact with the dugout.  That was one of the stipulations when Roberts interviewed. Stripling threw 150 all Spring and now in his first game and he throws 100.   He is still rehabbing from TJ surgery. Does anyone realize that and how hard his comeback was?  It is so easy for anyone to say that he should have been kept in when they have nothing to lose. Let’s not get lost in these silly stats that are running rampant in MLB.  First man to pitch a no-hitter in his debut since 1890 something.  Harvey Haddix had a perfect game through 12 inning and lost because of no production form his team.  Te Dodgers lost the game.

  8. If you agree with Roberts stating this guy had TJ surgery etc.. Then why did Roberts not take him out at 60 pitches which Roberts said he planned on doing before the start of the game?