Hey everyone, it’s Whatever Wednesdays again. Today I wanted to take the time talk about “Ross Stripling The Unsung Hero”.
Also, I forgot to write my post on Monday because I had to do some spring cleaning of the house and lost track of time. Apologies.
Ross Stripling The Unsung Hero
For those who don’t know him, Ross Stripling is a pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers. I’ve mentioned him before in my prior posts about Max Muncy. I guess that, in general, I kind of like these low-key ballplayers who do a good job, but don’t quite have the star power of other people on their team.
Cody Bellinger has put together an incredible year so far. However, if you look at Max Muncy’s numbers so far this year, there isn’t a significant regression aside from an uptick in strikeouts. He’s hitting .263 with a 0.343 OBP. His OPS is reasonable at .870. His 4 home runs so far this year are pretty good, but are overshadowed by both Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson who are just knocking the cover off of the ball.
So far this season, it seems that they are going to just keep throwing off-speed pitches at Max and he’ll need to adjust, just like Cody did. I don’t think pitchers are going to default to the fastball against Muncy anymore. This is probably a good idea for them. However, knowing this, I think Muncy will be more patient at the plate and take those offspeed pitches for balls. Then when he gets something over the plate, fastball or offspeed, I think he can barrel it up. Obviously, he’ll run into trouble if people drop offspeed pitches in him for strikes early and get behind in the count, but that’s the same for any batter.
Long story short. I still believe in Max Muncy.
However, this is a post about Ross Stripling.
Ross Stripling is an interesting guy. I think on many other teams in baseball he could be a #4 or #5 starter. However, with the depth the Dodgers have, he was relegated to a set-up or long-man roll from the bullpen. That was until some injuries last year required him to convert into a starter again.
He was marvelous in the first half of the season, enough to get a spot at the All-Star game. However, he kind of fell of a bit at the end of the season. He won’t make any excuses, but he did mention that all those innings took a lot out of him by year’s end — and I tend to believe him. Prior to last year, he only pitched 77 innings in 2017 and 100 in 2016. He threw 122 in 2018. Those extra innings add up with wear and tear on an arm. In fact, he didn’t make the post season roster — which I understand, but don’t really agree with.
Now it’s 2019 Spring Training…
It was looking like everyone was going to be healthy again and Ross was going to the bullpen. This was something he understands and was ok with going forward, even though he considers himself a starter. However, when injuries sent Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill to the IL (and Hyun-Jin Ryu later), he became the starter they turned to again. Luckily, he was built up in spring training as a starter just in case.
Now then, his first start was pretty good, no runs in 5 1/3 innings pitched. However, his 2nd and 3rd starts weren’t great, giving up 3 runs in 6 1/3 and 4 runs in 5 innings. That said, they were still decent. Then this last start he pitched 8 innings, only giving up 1 run. Not only was the start a gem of an outing, but it also stopped the Dodgers 6 game losing streak. In addition, it helped reset the bullpen and prepare for the next 2 games (which the Dodgers also won to sweep the Reds).
Now, with Clayton Kershaw back and Rich Hill probably back soon, I imagine we’ll see Ross get send to the bullpen again. Overall, I think many will gloss over what he did and quickly forget. However, I won’t. Ross Stripling was just what the Dodgers needed and he did what he had to do.
I think when we look back on 2019, this will be an important time to reflect back on for the Dodgers — and Ross is a big part of that.
Off the field
In addition, Ross is just a funny guy, as you can see from this rendition:
Also, he said this about his last performance:
I liken Ross Stripling to a modern day Orel Hershiser. He has good, but not overpowering stuff. However, his control and game sense are very strong. He’ll do whatever is needed for a little bit of an edge because he realizes that the margins for his pitches is razor thin. To be honest, if Ross only had his pitches and not his game smarts, he wouldn’t be in the majors. It’s his ability to get inside player’s heads that allows him to get them out.
While I hope Ross stays with the Dodgers, part of me thinks he deserves a chance as a starter elsewhere.
Ross Stripling The Unsung Hero helped right the ship early in 2019.
People probably won’t think much of it, but I appreciate it Ross.
Also, my boy Max is still looking ok, despite the increase in strikeouts — he’ll need to adjust to them throwing him mostly off-speed stuff.
Agree? Disagree? Questions, Comments and Suggestions are welcome.
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