While ‘tipping pitches’ might sound like a cool thing to do – it is the enemy of every pitcher in the game. Indeed, this is when a pitcher has a ‘tell’ or is doing something that allows the hitter to know exactly what pitch is coming.
Ross Stripling had an All-Star first half in 2018. Then things seemed to fall apart after a tough appearance during that exhibition. Now, Stripling was interviewed by J.P. Hoornstra of the OC Register about a trend he developed that may explain some of the troubles.
Ross Stripling had a different tell for each of his pitches last September. With a lot of time, and a little gum, he believes he's a mystery again. Notes: https://t.co/QzFDnlGTX0
— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) May 8, 2019
Moreover, Stripling was giving opposing hitters the key to the castle; so-t0-speak. Equally important, Stripling says that he was even giving away his out-pitch; the curveball. A pitch so devastating that I have donned it ‘The Winner’s Curveball’.
“I would do this on a curveball,” Stripling said, biting his upper lip. “Just on curveballs, which is my moneymaker, so if I’m tipping that then I’m fricked.”
So, Stripling was gripping a little too tight when he would throw the curve. Or perhaps just biting nervously at his lip. There’s more, the Dodgers right-hander also developed bad habits before fastball and off-speed deliveries.
“For a fastball, I’d go 1, 2, then stop,” Stripling said, demonstrating each step as he stood in front of his locker. “For offspeed, I’d go 1, 2, 3. So that was tipping.”
Stripling currently has an ERA of 3.22 in 6 starts (9 appearances overall). He also has struck out 36 batters in 36.1 innings pitched. The four-year veteran believes that he’s fixed the glitch.
“I mostly have it fixed,” he said. “Sometimes I bite my lip on a fastball or a changeup or whatever. When I was starting, we found maybe one (curveball) in an outing where I bit my lip. Thought maybe I should do a mouthguard. But I haven’t bought a mouthguard or ordered a mouthguard.”
I have always felt that a guy like Stripling is essential to a winning ball club. Versatile, smiling a lot, and competitive guile that is quite possibly his strongest trait. Without question – good things await Stripling and the Dodgers if he’s locked in and at his best for the rest of the year.