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Dodgers relying on rookie starting pitchers this season

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MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Los Angeles Dodgers
Ross Stripling makes his ninth start of the season for the Dodgers on Saturday.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ross Stripling gets the start for the Dodgers against the Red Sox on Saturday afternoon, his ninth major league start of the season and his first since May 19 in Anaheim.

Stripling’s start will also be the 42nd by a rookie this season for the Dodgers, with Kenta Maeda leading the 2016 first-year brigade with 22 starts, Julio Urias adding nine starts, and Brock Stewart two.

The 42 starts are the fourth-most by Dodgers rookies since the team moved west in 1958. Only the 1995 Dodgers, with 56 starts (Hideo Nomo 28, Ismael Valdes 27, and one by Chan Ho Park), the 2008 club, with 52 starts (31 by Hiroki Kuroda, 21 by Clayton Kershaw), and the 2013 Dodgers, with 46 starts (30 by Hyun-jin Ryu, 10 by Stephen Fife, six by Matt Magill), had more starts from rookies.

This is the first season the Dodgers have had at least nine starts out of three rookie pitchers since 1952, when Brooklyn got 24 starts out of Ben Wade, 21 starts out of Billy Loes, and 11 from Johnny Rutherford.

Stripling last started for the Dodgers on May 19 and, with a month of conditioning in Arizona in between to limit his total innings this season in his first full year back from Tommy John surgery, the right-hander has made four long relief appearances in the majors, none shorter than two innings.

In those four games, Stripling has a 1.54 ERA in 11 innings, with seven strikeouts and two walks.

Stripling on the season is similar in many ways to left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, getting the call for the Red Sox in the middle game of the series.

Stripling has faced 229 batters in 54⅓ innings in 2016, with 40 strikeouts and 20 walks, with one intentional walk.

Rodriguez has faced 234 batters in 53⅓ innings this year, with 42 strikeouts and 20 walks, with one intentional walk.

But while Stripling has allowed just three home runs this season, Rodriguez has allowed 12 in his 10 starts, just one fewer homer than he allowed in 21 starts for Boston in 2015.

The Dodgers are 12-14 in games against left-handed starters this season.

Game info

Time: 1:10 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA, Fox Sports 1