We would like to start this off by personally thanking the Angels and Arte Moreno. If not for that genius franchise, we would not have Ross Stripling and Joc Pederson in the Dodgers lineup.
Originally slated to start the season in the Dodgers bullpen, Ross was thrust into the spotlight by a number of changes to the rotation. David Price opted out of the season and it was assumed Stripling would be starting the fifth game of the season. But things changed once again when Walker Buehler got a late start in Summer Camp. Ross suddenly found himself in the second spot in the rotation setting the stage for a Friday night appearance.
What did he do with that opportunity? He threw 7 innings of one-run ball with 7 strikeouts and no walks allowed. Stripling allowed just 4 hits en route to another big Dodgers win over their division rivals. Ross threw 92 pitches which is much more than any other Dodgers starter is likely to throw in the first week of games.
Stripling spoke with Dodgers media after the game about a new pitch he felt that had improved his game. You might have seen the changeup throwing a few hitters off during the game.
New grip, kind of had it in Spring Training and almost got away from it in quarantine, brought it back at the end of quarantine and then worked on it hard during Summer Camp. Throwing it to our guys and getting some feedback from them…was able to throw a handful of really good ones today.
In addition to the changeup, Ross was hitting the top of the zone with his fastball really well. He felt that had helped him get batters off balance all game with his mix of other pitches. Clearly the Dodgers were able to greatly benefit from that.
I thought that I was competitive at the top of the zone with a lot of fastballs. I didn’t throw many that were head-high, I didn’t yank many down when I was trying to go up. I was consistent at the top of the zone which is good…I was able to work on some stuff in between to stay ready, of sorts.
The fact that Stripling wasn’t in the starting rotation to start the season was surprising in of itself. So him getting to prove himself to the Dodgers faithful is going to be a fun ride in 2020. Several people around the organization have picked him as their dark horse candidate for Cy Young this year.