Within the first week of the MLB season, you can expect many different things. But last night at AT&T Park in San Francisco, rookie right-hander Ross Stripling was about to do the unthinkable. He was looking to pitch a no hitter in his MLB Debut. Had he been successful in that regard, Stripling would've been the first pitcher to toss a no-no in his MLB Debut since Bumpus Jones back in 1892. Yes, 1892.
However, Stripling didn't even get the opportunity to do so. With one out in the 8th inning, Stripling walked Giants outfielder, Angel Pagan, for his fourth walk of the game. Out of the Dodger dugout came 1st year manager and Red Sox hero, Dave Roberts, who showed some serious balls last night.
Roberts pulled Stripling and went to his bullpen, trying to preserve the 2-0 lead the Dodgers held. Stripling's final pitch count was 100. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, Giants rookie catcher Trevor Brown spanked his first career homer and tied the game at 2, showing that pulling Stripling was the wrong move.
The Giants went on to walk-off on a Brandon Crawford homer in the tenth, winning 3-2.
So not only did Stripling not get a chance to make history, he was also denied his first big league win in the process. Now I understand the thought process in Roberts' mind when he pulled Stripling, and I actually still am behind him for that. When you think about it, you want to win, and Stripling definitely was not going to give them the best chance to do so, having total control issues from the fifth inning on.
So Roberts went to his pen, exiting to a serenade of boos from the Giants faithful who were totally aware of the situation. It just backfired, but it was still the right move. Don't burn out a kid's arm who has only made 14 starts since the end of 2013 due to Tommy John surgery, on Opening Day.
I can see why people would question Roberts for making the move so quickly, but it makes sense. I feel for Ross Stripling, it must suck to be 5 outs away from a no hitter in your MLB Debut and you get pulled for reaching 100 pitches.