D-backs @ Dodgers March 29, 2019: Stripling starts, bats take on lefty Ray

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

Baseball is back, and so is the daily dose of heartburn it brings along with it.

At least yesterday was a lot of fun. Hyun-Jin Ryu was dealing. His inspiring Opening Day start, plus around 50 home runs by the Dodgers offense, led to total domination against old friend Zack Greinke and the D-backs. Opening Days need fireworks and flyovers, and the Dodgers didn’t let us down.

The plan worked. The excitement of Opening Day pulled us back in. We know the prolonged pain that the season brings with it, but our loyal hearts keep returning every spring. I know what the highs and lows of the season feel like, but it’s a ride I willingly take. I don’t know about you, but I want to see more Corey Seager dongs this season.

Diamondbacks
Dodgers
7:10 p.m.
Los Angeles
CF
Dyson
2B
Hernandez
3B
Escobar
3B
Turner
LF
Peralta
1B
Freese
RF
Jones
CF
Pollock
1B
Lamb
SS
Seager
2B
Marte
LF
Taylor
SS
Ahmed RFBellinger
C
Avila
C
Martin
P
Ray (L)
P
Stripling (R)

A series win against one of L.A’s NL foes to start off the season would be an encouraging start. The D-backs are Goldschmidt-less, but beating them is still extremely satisfying.

——

We get a look at Dave Roberts‘ first lineup vs. a left-hander. Enrique Hernandez, with three home runs vs. Ray under his belt, leads off. Justin Turner, who went 0-for-5 on Thursday, follows. David Freese gets the start at first base with Max Muncy on the bench. Russell Martin will be handling Ross Stripling behind the plate. Martin’s last start for the Dodgers was on August 3, 2010.

Stripling is in the starting rotation for now. This will be Stripling’s fourth season with the Dodgers. He’s pitched in numerous roles both as a starter and a reliever. Stripling pitched mostly out of the Dodgers bullpen in 2017 and went 3-5 with a 3.75 ERA and 3.68 FIP in 49 games with a 18.1 K-BB% in 74.1 innings. In 2018, he started the year in the bullpen. Similar to this season’s start, a big chunk of the L.A. starters suffered injuries.

Speaking of, Clayton Kershaw is progressing toward his return to the mound for the Dodgers.

Anyway, Stripling was moved to the starting rotation in late April of last year. He took advantage of the opportunity, earning himself his first All-Star nod after putting together an excellent first half. He went 8-2 with a 2.08 ERA in 25 games (14 starts). A toe injury and general fatigue led to a terrible second half to the season. He went 0-4 with a 6.41 ERA in eight games. As a result, Stripling was left off all three postseason rosters.

In his career against Arizona, Stripling has a 4.46 ERA with 35 strikeouts in 40.1 innings against them. Last season he struggled against the Snakes and went 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA in 12 innings. He’ll have to be very wary of Nick Ahmed who is 5-for-7 (.714) with a double and a home run against him.

——

Robbie Ray takes the mound for the D-backs. Hopefully the Boys In Blue saved some offense for Game 2, because they’ve had trouble against the left-hander in the past. Ray is 7-3 with a 2.68 ERA 12 K/9 against the Dodgers in 15 career starts. He’s 3-2 with a 1.80 ERA and 13.5 K/9 in eight career starts at Dodger Stadium.

Ray felt good this spring and finished with a 17.6 K/9 in 16.1 innings. I fully expect the Dodgers, who had a dozen runs off a dozen hits yesterday, will be shut out by Ray. That outcome would surely be followed by a renewed narrative about the Dodgers not being able to hit lefties.

——

They say “third time’s a charm.” So, let’s do this. The only narrative I want to hear about is the Dodgers hitting many dongs.

About Stacie Wheeler

Stacie Wheeler
Stacie Wheeler, born and raised in So Cal, has been writing about the Dodgers since 2010. She wrote daily as the co-editor of Lasorda's Lair for five long years, and she has also written for Dodgers Nation, Dodger Blue 1958 and The Hardball Times. She currently contributes to True Blue LA. Stacie graduated from the University Of Southern California with a bachelor's degree in Cinema-Television. You can also watch her videos on her YouTube channel, DishingUpTheDodgers.