While tonight won’t determine Ross Stripling‘s career path (just as Friday night didn’t), I’m quite interested to see how he handles his second professional outing. Expectations are high after a great MLB debut.
It went about as well as anyone could have dreamed (perhaps better), but don’t expect him to throw hitless innings every time out (that would just be foolish). Do expect him to compete and keep the Dodgers in the game (most nights). He has the profile of a solid No. 4/5 starter, and that’s exactly what the Dodgers need right now.
In his first start, Stripling relied on his fastball (57.6 percent) and curveball (19.2 percent). He did throw his changeup a surprising amount (16.2 percent), while his slider was used sparingly (7.1 percent). He isn’t a strikeout-type pitcher — never was in the minors. He got nine swinging strikes in 100 pitches in his debut. The MLB average is 9.5 percent. Seeing as the Giants are one of baseball most contact-oriented teams, that isn’t a bad number. The Diamondbacks are 11th in contact rate (77.8) in the young season and 17th in swinging strike percentage (10.3), so there’s a chance Stripling could have more success in the whiff department tonight. For context, Alex Wood got 11 whiffs in his 105 pitches (10.5 percent) last night (seven came on his curveball).
Pitching in front of the home crowd after a fantastic introduction to the baseball world on Friday night is probably the best thing for him. One word of advice: Don’t pitch to Paul Goldschmidt. That is all.