Should Ross Stripling Rejoin Dodgers’ Starting Rotation?

(Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports)
Beginning the year in the starting rotation, Ross Stripling was going into the season prepared for any role. The righty said in an interview last offseason that all he wants to do is win, so he was prepared to relieve as well as start. Last year, Stripling was in the pitching roles of reliever, middle-man and starter.

Deservedly, Strip was an All-Star thanks primarily to his success in the rotation when there were several injuries to the original starting five. In 2018, Ross had a record of 8-6 with an ERA of 3.02, making 33 appearances and starting 21 games. This season, Stripling has a record of 2-2, appearing in 18 games starting six of those while posting an ERA of 3.28.

Since starting the year in the rotation, he has moved to the pen, specifically when both Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill were healthy enough to rejoin the club. I’d say the Dodgers have a more valuable starter than a reliever in Stripling this year. In six starts, Stripling is 1-1 with an era of 2.65 over 34 innings compared to a 1-1 record with a 4.97 ERA over 12.2 innings of relief work.

At the moment, the Dodgers’ best move could be to moving righty Kenta Maeda to the pen, giving Stripling a chance to be a consistent fifth starter. This isn’t to say that Madea doesn’t have value as a starter, I just think the best thing for the Dodgers would be to have Stripling in the rotation and Maeda in the bullpen, especially when considering Maeda’s past success in relief.

Another option could be to send Maeda or someone else deserving of a break to the injured list, allowing Stripling to get a couple starts to get back into the groove of things. Last year, Stripling struggled after the All-Star break—I’m guessing that was due to fatigue since the most innings Stripling had previously thrown was 100 in a season, increasing that total to 122 in 2018.

Before the 2018 All-Star game, Stripling posted a record of 8-2 with a 2.08 ERA  over 95.1 innings, and after the All-Star break went 0-4 with a 6.41 ERA in 26.2 innings. Stripling was a starter for most of 2018 but did make 12 relief appearances with an impressive 0.57 era over 15.2 Innings compared to his overall 3.39 ERA in 106.1 innings. He certainly has shown he can do it all and is a very good piece for the Dodgers to have, but I think he should be in the rotation.

Even Stripling himself said he hasn’t proven to be the best of relief arms.


22 thoughts on “Should Ross Stripling Rejoin Dodgers’ Starting Rotation?

  1. I agree with you John that Stripling has been totally abused and wasted this year. Not only have they sent him to the bullpen but they don’t use him enough there either.
    On the other hand I completely disagree with those who think Maeda is a good option for the bullpen. When the main knock on a guy is that he sometimes isn’t aggressive enough, that’s the last guy I want to put in the bullpen, especially to use in high stress situations. If you just plan to use him in long relief (not likely) you may as well trade him.
    I really believe that AF needs to decide between now and the end of July if he wants to get Strip back into the rotation. If not, he still has some value so trade him and do him the favor of letting him get on with his career. I think he would certainly make a worthwhile addition to a package for Hand.

    1. As bad as the Indians rotation is banged up right now, that is absolutely true. Brad Miller traded to the Phillies by the Yankees. He is matching Kratz for the most teams played for this year at 4.

  2. Might be workable, doubt that Andy even considers it though. Roberts has zip say in this kind of move. That is the FO’s bailiwick. Hell, rotate him and Ferguson in and out of the rotation. Fergie has some nasty stuff. If they were to put anyone in the rotation and Maeda in the pen, I would guess Urias with his stuff would get the call.

  3. Kenta should start over Stripling and Inorefer Stripling starting g to relief but Kenta is much better suited to starting. He gets a bad rep from fans sometimes because he doesn’t dominate people. He has always been the steady arm the back of our rotation needs. He will be the first to go to the pen in October but he needs to be in the rotation just as Urias needs to be the 2nd half of the season. Things usually work themselves out injury wise so I doubt we have an issue where there won’t be a place for Urias. As for Strip, they should use him more often in relief. At least you know what you are going to get most of the time with him.

  4. People also furvet the absolute steal of a deal we gave Maeda on too. Every team in the league would kill to have a starting pitcher with his success making a base salary of $3.125 million.

    1. What’s the past tense of furvet Alex? Furvetted or furvot? 🙂
      You are absolutely correct. Maeda’s contract is a steal for AF. Basically he only gets paid if he pitches well.

  5. If he can stand it, David Freese needs to be the full time 1B from now on. Just keep Max at 2B and flip Kike and Taylor at SS until Seager is back. At 35 his body may not be up to playing 4 of every 5 games though.

    1. I think Doc and Andrew would be happy if they could start him 3 times a week and bring him off the bench the other games. Freese himself has said he’s not an every day player any more.

  6. Impressive comeback against a quality left hander. Kersh was clutch after a rocky start. Julio looking more comfortable and confident with each outing. Doesn’t matter if Strip starts. He won’t be in playoff rotation. Maeda’s contract based on innings and volume and he’s screwed if he goes to pen during regular season. The question is for the playoffs who does Urias replace in the starting rotation or do you keep him in pen?

  7. Co sudering Ryu stays hot the playoff rotation will be Kershaw, Buehler and Ryu with Hill vs Urias as the 4th starter when needed based on who is pitching better at that time. Hill probably gets the 4th spot to give the bullpen Urias’ help.

  8. Nice comeback win. 7 unanswered runs. Cody breaks out of his slump with a bang. Even the ump was somewhat entertaining although his strike zone was erratic. Kike with an ofer. Called that one. He is terrible in that spot in the order. Pad’s announce that all of their position players are available for trade except Tatis, Machado and that rookie catcher they have.

  9. I was really happy to see us get to Lester last night. It always makes me crazy to see him pitch well when it looks like anyone could hit him. Obviously, for the most part, looks can be deceiving, since he’s had a very successful career. Now that I think of it, non-Dodger fans might very well look at Ryu the same way.

  10. the dodgers pitching going forward is scary. with ross stripling one of the best junk ball pitchers to have come down the pike, and the mexican wonder julio urias the dodgers will not not miss a beat in the future. presently i think it is fine to keep stripling in the bullpen in order to keep his arm warm until needed.

    go dodger blue

    1. I have no problem with Stripling in the pen. I’ve also thought about using him, Urias and Ferguson as Openers. 3 innings apiece. All the starters get an extra days rest.

      1. Not sure if I understand your thought here Scoop. Are you saying you would use all 3 guys in one game with each pitching 3 innings? If so, you would have an opener, a middler and a closer. An interesting idea but I’m thinking that it might deplete the rest of the bullpen too much on the day or couple of days following that day. They would, however, make a strong trio and I’m betting we would win a lot of those games.

      2. Exactly. Any of them could start, that doesn’t matter. What matters is they all go 3. The idea of an Opener has been around a few minutes, but I don’t know of many teams that has 3 of them.

      3. OK, so I’m partially signing on to your idea (except for the effect it might have on the pen as mentioned above), but the most important thing here is that you have to come up with a better name for this strategy because everyone knows that you can’t have three openers in the same game. How about “The Triumvirate”? Since one of the first triumvirate was Julius Caesar it would be very appropriate that this triumvirate would have Julius Urias.

      4. Triumvirate? I get it. How about Trioka? “a team of three horses driven abreast.” Anything that has three horses and a breast in the definition works for me.

        I didn’t just say that.

      5. You came up with the idea so it’s yours to name. Just remember, you can’t use all three horses at the same time and breasts are usually better in pairs. And I didn’t just say that.

      6. Troika it is.

        Hey, remember the 3 breasted mutant hooker in Total Recall. I don’t.

        Hill must be hitable tonight. 3 earned in 3. That’s an ERA of 1. Per inning. Which isn’t a thing. Never mind. As you were.

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