The Dodgers will be without David Price this year, but that’s not much of a worry right now. Ross Stripling will likely step into the rotation in his absence, a position Strip felt he should have had a shot at in spring.
The Dodgers have enough starting pitching to lose at least five more guys at this point, so Price sitting doesn’t hurt too badly. But Stripling spoke about the opportunity to crack the rotation in a conversation with media on Sunday and brought up an interesting point. In his eyes, he never really got a shot at the rotation during the first rendition of Spring Training.
I was disappointed at the time because I remember wanting to feel like I had the opportunity to go earn a rotation spot and being told that I was gonna get that opportunity. And Urias was announced the four before we even played a spring game, and then Woody was announced the five a few days later when we were just a few games into Spring Training. And I felt that I really didn’t get a fair shake, I’m trying to earn that spot. And that’s not saying that Julio and Alex don’t deserve it, I mean heck man, we got 7 or 8 guys that can be in our starting rotation…
To his credit, Stripling does bring up a great point. I was surprised when Alex Wood declared himself a starter back in February. I was even more surprised when Dave Roberts announced that Wood would take the final spot in the rotation having only appeared in a few games for the Dodgers. But Wood clarified that he came but to Los Angeles to start, and that’s what he expected.
Stripling has long been in the role of a swingman, floating somewhere between being a great reliever a great starter. In 136 career games, Stripling has appeared as a starter 52 times. In those 52 appearances, he has thrown 257 innings with a 3.71 ERA. While the Dodgers’ swingman isn’t necessarily upset about his role, he was not happy with how things went down.
I guess I just expected it to be more of an ongoing battle for the position throughout Spring Training, and it was announced just a few games in. So I was disappointed, and I was disappointed that I found out through the media before anyone told me in person. Which, not a big deal it just went down that way.
While it does sound like pretty strong wording out of a generally humble guy, Stripling did clarify that he held no ill-will about how things went down in March. This comes on the heels of a would-be trade to the Angels if not for Arte Moreno being a terrible owner.
All that matters now is that he is in the rotation and has an opportunity to prove what he is capable of. And in a shortened season, Stripling could be lethal. Through his first 12 starts in 2018, Ross pitched to a 2.19 earned run average and struck out batters at a 9.5 per 9 innings rate.
It’s Chicken Strip’s time to shine.