Tiring Stripling agrees with exiting no-hitter
Dodgers rookie departs with one out in eighth; next batter homers
SAN FRANCISCO -- Blocked from a chance for something historic by his manager, Dodgers starting pitcher Ross Stripling told Dave Roberts, no worries.
"I thought it was the right choice," Stripling said of Roberts removing him from his Major League debut with a no-hitter after 7 1/3 innings and exactly 100 pitches, in a game the Dodgers lost to the Giants, 3-2, in 10 innings Friday night. "I was tired; it was the right call. I think you could tell I was trending downwards. It was a tough decision for him. I certainly had no ill feelings toward him one bit."
The crowd, even a hostile crowd at AT&T Park, booed Roberts when he brought in Chris Hatcher, who was greeted by a game-tying, two-run homer from rookie Trevor Brown in a game the Giants won on Brandon Crawford's walk-off home run.
Roberts, who was ejected for arguing with plate umpire Jeff Kellogg shortly after removing Stripling, explained his decision to the pitcher when they saw each other in the clubhouse.
"He just said it was a tough decision, but it's your first outing and you've got the whole season ahead, your whole career," Stripling said. "I said, 'No problem, it's the right call.' I keep saying the right thing to do."
• Roberts: Pulling Stripling an easy call
Stripling is two years removed from Tommy John surgery and Roberts said the right-hander was on a short leash after his velocity dipped in the seventh inning. Stripling said he understood.
"I just know I was tired and I've got to think I was visibly tired if I felt tired," said Stripling. "It's not 10-0, it was 2-0 in San Francisco against our rival. I just think it was the right choice. With a bigger lead maybe there's more leeway, but in a tight game, that's the call to make. The competitor in you doesn't want to come out no matter what, that's your guy on base, you want to get through that inning. But part of me, it was a little weight off my shoulders. Got the first out of the way, let's build on it and keep rolling. Overall, a mixture of feelings, but mostly, I'm done, let's finish this game."
The finish didn't go so well for the Dodgers, who let a lead and a game get away for the second consecutive day. But until those final innings, Stripling was having as much fun as you can have with spikes on.
"It helps when the team is making diving plays for the first four innings," he said of four hit-robbing defensive plays by the Dodgers. "After I threw the first pitch for a strike, I settled down. Earlier in the day, I was with my family, I left 21 tickets and, man, this day was going by slow. But once I got out there, it was a lot of fun. I think at the start of the eighth the crowd was singing Journey and just jamming out. I really enjoyed it, obviously."
Stripling said he felt worse about walking Angel Pagan, which led to his removal, than about not finishing the no-hitter.
"For me, it was more beating myself up for walking the guy than anything for what Hatcher did," he said. "I beat myself up, thinking if he didn't walk, what would have happened?"