SAN FRANCISCO -- The next day, Dave Roberts was even more comfortable with his controversial decision to remove Ross Stripling from a no-hitter Friday night, thanks in part to Hayes Stripling.
"Actually this morning I feel even better about it," said Roberts. "One of the cool things I experienced, this morning Ross' dad was in the lobby and he sought me out and came up to me and, really emotional, just thanked me for him and his wife for looking out for their son. They know their kid's story, what he endured to get here, and they enjoyed the moment more than anyone, but they say thank you. I'll have their support forever. It was their stamp of approval."
Roberts removed Stripling, ranked as the Dodgers' No. 16 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, after his 100th pitch walked the Giants' Angel Pagan with one out in the eighth inning. The 26-year-old Stripling, two years removed from Tommy John surgery, had lost velocity and later conceded he had tired. Roberts said that by the eighth inning, Stripling was coming out as soon as a batter reached base and getting to the ninth inning was very unlikely.
"His velocity was down, the stuff not as crisp," Roberts said. "In talking to many pitchers, compare a Spring Training game and look at the intensity of a Major League game and compound that with the debut, there's a lot of emotional stress with those pitches. Taking everything into consideration, it's easy to say 100 pitches, but there's more layers to it."
Stripling said he received 174 text messages of congratulations. Roberts said he had "about 40," mostly reassuring him that his decision was the right one. Opposing manager Bruce Bochy said he would have done the same thing.
"He's the best in the game, he's known for managing the 'pen," said Roberts. "For him to support my decision does mean a lot. It's been a common sentiment.
"Look, I want to see him throw a no-hitter; it's a special moment. But we're looking at the long view and Ross can help us win many more games. If it went south and something were to happen, I couldn't live with myself. It's his livelihood."
Roberts confirmed that Stripling earned another start, which figures to come Thursday in Los Angeles against Arizona.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.