Ross Stripling pitching against the San Francisco Giants always will have a certain ring to it, three full years after one of the more memorable major league debuts in recent history.
The Dodgers' starter, who will face the Giants on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium, delivered a hitless outing at San Francisco on April 8, 2016. Hitless did not equal no-hitter, though, not on this night.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts decided to remove Stripling from his debut with a no-hitter intact after 7 1/3 innings. At 100 pitches, Roberts felt as if the right-hander, with Tommy John surgery in his past, had shown enough. Cue the foreboding music.
Chris Hatcher replaced Stripling and the Giants' Trevor Brown hit a home run that started San Francisco toward an eventual victory in 10 innings.
That game remains just one of three career starts Stripling has made against the Giants, although he does have seven relief appearances against the Dodgers' main rival. Over 28 1/3 innings, Stripling has a 2.86 ERA against San Francisco.
In his season debut Friday, Striping went 5 1/3 scoreless innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks, but that game did not end well for the Dodgers. In what would become the longest regular-season game by time in Dodger Stadium history (6 hours, 5 minutes), the Diamondbacks rallied for a 5-4 victory in 13 innings.
Even if Stripling (0-0, 0.00 ERA) does not continue to start when Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill return from injury later this month, he still figures to have a job in the bullpen waiting for him and more starts when the opportunity arises.
"I understand that's what gives me value and that (the front office) loves having those kinds of swing guys who can give them length out of the bullpen, get one out in the eighth inning and then make a start two days later," Stripling said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "And I've accepted that. I don't get caught up in roles like I did maybe a year or two ago."
The Giants will send left-hander Derek Holland (0-1, 6.75 ERA) to the mound for his second start of the season. He gave up three runs on four hits over four innings in a loss to the San Diego Padres on Friday.
In his first season with the Giants last year, the veteran went 0-2 against the Dodgers with a 3.92 ERA over six appearances (four starts).
After giving up 31 home runs over 135 innings for the Chicago White Sox in 2017, he cut that number to 19 home runs over 171 1/3 innings last year. Keeping the ball in the yard will help against a Dodgers team that has hit 17 home runs over its first six games to tie a major league record.
Slowly, the Giants offense seems to be getting in sync, although their team batting average is among the National Lague's lowest at .206. (The Dodgers enter the game with a .298 team average.) After scoring just five runs in their first four games, the Giants scored four runs in a victory over the Dodgers on Monday, and nearly pulled off a game-tying rally in Tuesday's 6-5 defeat to Los Angeles, scoring three runs in the ninth.
Holland is a pitcher, but he made a plea for patience when it came to San Francisco's run-scoring ability.
"We're frustrated, but nobody is panicking," Holland said, according to mlb.com. "There's no need to start throwing up the panic signs. We're OK. Yeah, hits haven't gone the way we want them to, but you've got to keep plugging away. You can't let that stuff slow you down."
--Field Level Media
Hot-hitting Dodgers, Stripling to face Giants
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