In just over two months, veteran Ross Stripling has not only saved his career but turned it around to be a dependable arm in the Blue Jays starting rotation.
At the 2020 MLB Trade Deadline, the Blue Jays sent 20-year old pitching prospect Kendall Williams, who was drafted in the second round just one year prior, to the Los Angeles Dodgers for the struggling Stripling. Stripling was in the midst of the worst season of his career and things didn’t get better going down the stretch once he joined the Blue Jays. In two starts and five total appearances, he posted a 6.32 ERA and 1.60 WHP for the remainder of the seasons, which did not give many fans hope going into 2021.
Believe it or not, Stripling’s start to the 2021 season was even worse than the finish to the previous year. On May 19, he had his low point during his sixth start of the season, which was a game he lasted just 3.2 innings and surrendered six earned runs including three home runs. His ERA ballooned to 7.20 on the season and he had failed to pitch five innings in all but two starts. Many including myself were calling for the team to DFA him and send him the way of Tanner Roark.
On May 19, Blue Jays pitcher Ross Stripling had a career-changing start as he was pulled after surrendering six runs, fixing his delivery with pitching coach Pete Walker and saving his career in the process.
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The magician known as Pete Walker went to work with Stripling in between that start and his next on May 24. The pair changed his delivery slightly and the outcome has turned Stripling into a dependable arm in the rotation. Stripling would toss his longest outing as a Blue Jay as he threw seven shutout innings on just 76 pitches while striking out seven.
Since that outing on May 24, Stripling has made 13 starts and has posted a 5-3 record with a 3.39 ERA over 66.1 innings pitched. On Thursday night, Stripling gave the club six shutout innings while striking out six batters. He has pitched at least five innings and allowed two or fewer runs in 10 of those 13 games.
The club currently has a six-pitcher rotation and will eventually move back to a five-man, the question now isn’t when are the Blue Jays going to cut ties with Stripling, but how do you keep him out of the rotation? Many will praise the work that Walker does for pitchers, but you also have to give credit to the pitcher himself for making the changes.
The last spot in a five-man rotation likely comes down to Stripling or Steven Matz, which pitcher would you go with in that spot?