When Texas A&M made the College World Series in 2011, the starting pitchers in their two games were junior Ross Stripling and sophomore Michael Wacha. The two pitchers, who were teammates for three years in college and even roommates for part of that time, face off in the majors for the first time in the opener of a three-game series between the Dodgers and Cardinals on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers drafted Stripling in the fifth round in 2012, and after recovering from 2014 Tommy John surgery made the major leagues for the first time this season, starting the year in the rotation.
Wacha was also drafted in 2012, in the first round by the Cardinals, one pick after the Dodgers took Corey Seager. The right-hander reacheed the majors in 2013, much to the Dodgers' chagrin as he shut them down for zero runs in two starts in the NLCS, won by the Cardinals in six games.
The Dodgers have faced Wacha in the regular season twice since then, and he allowed a total of five runs, splitting two games in 2015.
Both will look for their first hits of the season against one another. Stripling is 0-for-8 with four strikeouts and a walk this season, and Wacha is 0-for-14 with eight strikeouts.
Most importantly, Stripling will have to deal with a Cardinals offense that ranks second in the National League with 5.71 runs per game.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, check in at 4.17 runs per game, 10th in the NL, after their relative breakout game with five runs in Thursday's win over the Mets.
Both Kiké Hernandez (in slumps of 0-for-20 and 2-for-41) and Yasiel Puig (8-for-54 in last 14 games) took to desperate measures before Friday's game.
Electric stim machine for treatment on bats. Trying to extract hits. Puig's bat is next pic.twitter.com/mJYY8sd84f— Yasiel Puig (@YasielPuig) May 13, 2016
Puig is in the lineup against Wacha, batting fifth, while Hernandez sits. The Dodgers are starting Trayce Thompson in left field, as Dave Roberts foreshadowed Thursday, and Howie Kendrick at second base, the latter giving Chase Utley a day off.
A.J. Ellis gets the start at catcher.
Time: 7:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA, MLB Network