Ross Stripling makes his eighth start of the season in this afternoon’s finale against the Braves. The Dodgers will try to continue this current run of winning series as they have won five of their last six series while splitting the other one.
After being in the 2016 Opening Day rotation, Stripling had only two spot starts in 2017 and both of those were designed as short outings. When this season began, Stripling was in the bullpen but he always knew that he could be starting at anytime.
“That was kind of the plan,” Stripling said, “I got built up in spring so that if something like this happened, it stinks that you get in the rotation because guys like Kershaw and Rich [Hill] and Hyun-jin [Ryu] get hurt, but you know, that is why I got built up and threw the four, five innings in spring training so that if those guys did go down or something happened, I can just fill the spot into the rotation without having to make too many roster moves.”
“Being the guy that goes back and forth, I think you have stay even-keeled,” Stripling said, “I think that is just the mentality you have to have, if you get to into one or the other and they switch up on you, you are just going to get overwhelmed.”
How Stripling prepares knowing he is going start
Having been primarily a reliever in the 2017 and early 2018 seasons, Stripling had to make adjustments for hitters who would be seeing him more than once in the game.
“As far as scouting, I would always scout the whole lineup because I knew I had a chance to face everyone once or sometimes maybe even twice because I was like the long man,” Stripling said, “when maybe someone like a Cingrani would focus much more on a Harper or a big lefty, I would just give the same focus to everyone.”
“The preparation hasn’t changed a ton, I am still getting ready for the whole lineup,” Stripling said, “but now it is how can I get them out maybe two or three times. So it is just really studying and getting with Honeycutt, and putting a plan together and just knowing my safe zones, knowing my strengths, knowing I have to do work in certain parts of the plate to clear up other parts of the plate. Just having a general plan throughout the whole lineup to get guys out more than once when in the bullpen, it was just once.”
Stripling also knows that teams will have more film and details on his pitching since he is starting now and he has to factor that into his planning.
“For sure, I know that is just the chess match of starting,” Stripling said, “maybe at first I had a little bit of an advantage because they had not really seen me start in a while, now the word is definitely out.”
“They’re going to know what I am trying to do and it is going to turn into a chess match,” Stripling said, “and I am going to try to be one step ahead of them and that starts with preparation, so the more prepared I am, the more confident I am.”
Getting back in the batter’s box
Stripling had just nine at-bats in 2017 and as a reliever, he did not take regular batting practice. Since starting, Stripling has one hit and two sacrifice bunts in 2018.
“The hitting itself may not come too far,” Stripling said smiling,” but I certainly need to learn how to bunt.” “Working on bunting, that’s getting a little better, but the hitting, we’re practicing but I don’t know how much progress we’re making.”
“In spring training, just because I was getting built up, I did some hitting off the tee, some soft toss,” Stripling said, “but not too much, now since I have been back in the rotation, we are doing this almost every day.”
Time: 1:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA