The message boards are pulsing this morning but with 157 games left to go this season, the Dodgers’ first-year manager did the right thing by ignoring the record books—and the fans.
On a drizzle-flecked Friday night that conjured memories of the black-and-white San Francisco you grew up reading about just left of the Macy’s ad, Los Angeles Dodgers righty Ross Stripling made a stunning major league debut, pitching no-hit ball for 71/3.
Stripling got the first out in the eighth. But after walking Angel Pagan, his drone strike-accuracy was starting to fade—be it from fatigue or awareness. Stripling was then pulled just after throwing his 100th pitch.
Dodgers’ newly minted manager Dave Roberts, who owns Red Stitch winery with former Giants teammate/color commentator Rich Aurilia, called for reliever Chris Hatcher just in time for San Francisco rookie catcher Trevor Brown to hit a two-run shot to knot the game at two.
Brown would only be the first UCLA Bruin to go yard Friday night for the men in orange as shortstop Brandon Crawford would finish the job with an opposite-field walk-off homer in the 10th off reliever Joe Blanton.
Stripling, 26, is less than two years removed from Tommy John surgery. And Roberts made a sound metrics-based, if not totally emotion-free decision to pull him. Kind of the managerial equivalent of taking a second date to a Kings of Leon concert: Nobody’s having any fun, but nobody’s totally offended either.
Through seven, the rookie was masterful against erstwhile Giants ace Matt Cain, who is currently teeing off on the 17th of his career with the clubhouse in sight, and put the rest of the NL on notice.
If the Zach who? Dodgers’ rotation is really this viable one through five without Hyun-jin Ryu back from shoulder surgery—a fourth-consecutive playoff run seems inevitable. Roberts knew there’s sense in chasing something (debut no-hitter) that hasn’t been done since Benjamin Harrison was in office if it means texting James Andrews to clear his schedule in August.
Bumpus Jones, your record is in tact—and you are also trending.
And Dave Roberts became the first Dodger manager since Tommy Lasorda to be vehemently booed by Giants fans…in this instance for denying them a peek at history in exchange for uncertainty down the road.
A fair trade if you’re a Dodgers faithful and a feat that should keep both fanbases happily on edge in advance of today’s afternoon delight starring their generation’s best in Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw.