Dodgers ponder skipping Stripling next week

Dodgers ponder skipping Stripling next week

LOS ANGELES -- With the Dodgers scheduled for two off-days during their road trip next week, manager Dave Roberts mentioned the possibility of skipping rookie Ross Stripling in the rotation in order to preserve the right-hander's innings.

"We're thinking, with Ross and his usage," Roberts said when asked if any starters could possibly be skipped. "That's something that's still definitely in its infancy, but there's some conversations. We're trying to figure out what's best for our club."

Stripling underwent Tommy John surgery in 2014 and entered the '16 season with a still-unknown innings limit. He said he hadn't heard anything as far as missing a start next week, but he's aware of the possibility.

"Certainly, I know it's coming up and I'm anxious to see what happens, but I don't know anything," Stripling said.

By most accounts, Stripling has exceeded expectations since winning the fifth-starter job out of Spring Training. The 26-year-old is 0-1 with a 3.22 ERA through four starts and 22 1/3 innings. However, his ERA is buoyed by his seven no-hit innings in his April 8 big league debut. In the three starts since, he holds a 4.20 ERA and is averaging just five innings per start.

The right-hander struggled in particular in his third time through the lineup in Monday night's 3-2 loss to the Marlins, allowing hard contact and not registering a strikeout. Stripling said the pitch he struggled with was his curveball, one of which was sent into the right-field bleachers by Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth inning.

There was some question as to whether Stripling should have been sent out to pitch the sixth inning, but he was happy to see the team had confidence in him and was willing to loosen the pitch-count leash.

"That's nice, having the confidence to throw me back out there when I was in the 90s," said Stripling, who finished with 107 pitches over 5 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on eight hits. "That means a lot that they're starting to get some confidence in me, but at the same time, I know the bullpen had a lot of guys down, so it was my job to soak up some more innings than I probably did, but it's nice to have some more pitches to work with."

Jack Baer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.