LOS ANGELES --- Manager Dave Roberts knows it is a lot to ask two rookie pitchers to face one of the top offensive teams in the majors. That is why Roberts was so impressed by Ross Stripling and Grant Dayton's strong pitching performances in the Dodgers 3-0 shutout over the Red Sox on Saturday.
"It was great, obviously can't say enough about Ross and the effort he gave today," Roberts said, "we put [Stripling] in some tough spots that we have talked about but he has always risen to the occasion and gave us a huge lift today that we needed. [Last] Sunday, he did the same thing."
Roberts was equally impressed by what he has seen from Dayton in his first two games.
"Grant has been great, the way he carries himself on a big league mound," Roberts said, "first such little service is rare, obviously the fastball plays and he doesn't scare off."
Pedro Baez was warming up in the seventh inning and with two out and a runner on, Roberts elected to keep Dayton in to face Hanley Ramirez.
"I felt good with that matchup," Roberts said, "I think that people try to always pigeonhole the left/right thing and I felt good about Dayton against Hanley."
Stripling knew that today would be a good test and to get through it was another sign that he was continuing to show that he belongs in the majors.
"They threw a lot of lefties at me, I think there was seven in the lineup including the pitcher," Stripling said, "to go through a match up like that and have success is good for the confidence."
Stripling's last appearance was when he replaced Bud Norris after he left with an injury last Sunday. Stripling does think his 3⅔ innings in relief played a role in the decision to start him today.
"I think without that outing, I may not have been in the mix for this," Stripling said, "because I may not have been stretched out enough to even be considered as a starter. So it was good to get that pitch count up."
Grant Dayton pitched two innings and also had his first MLB career plate appearance. He struck out but was happy to keep pitching.
"I'm glad I got to stay in the game," Dayton said, "I don't really swing it very often but when I do I try to hit the ball. Obviously I didn't, that was heat."
Dayton had a simple explanation for his success thus far for the Dodgers.
"I'm just trying to execute pitches," Dayton said, "I think that is all it really comes down to, trusting my stuff, and not letting the big atmosphere get to me."
When David Ortiz had his first plate appearance, he was given a standing ovation by many fans on Saturday. You can add Stripling and Dayton to the many who recognized the power-hitting Red Sox legend's greatness and impact on the game.
Stripling said it was a a memorable moment in his baseball career to get Ortiz to go 0-for-2 against him.
"That will be something I will look back on and really remember," Stripling said, "I think of the legacy that [Ortiz] has and the year that he is having right now and to be able to get him out in a big jam there in the first and then get him out again, yeah that is pretty cool."
Dayton not only got Ortiz out, he struck him out in the sixth. For Dayton, he had to stay in that moment and keep pitching.
"I tried not think about it. Obviously, [Ortiz] is legend," Dayton said, "and you know, I still got to do my job, so I just wanted to execute pitches and trust AJ."