Bochy agrees as Roberts pulls rookie Stripling in no-hit bid
Apr. 09, 2016
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Bruce Bochy would have done the exact same thing in Dave Roberts' position.
Roberts, a first-year manager who played extensively for Bochy, made the debatable decision of pulling Ross Stripling with a no-hitter in progress for the Los Angeles Dodgers after 7 1/3 innings during his major league debut. Yet Roberts called it a "no-brainer" to protect the pitcher's long-term health two years after Tommy John surgery.
Bochy had Roberts' back all the way on this one, too. His San Francisco Giants beat Los Angeles 3-2 on Brandon Crawford's 10th-inning leadoff home run off Joe Blanton (0-1) on Friday night.
"It's the kid's first start and they have to take care of him," Bochy said. "Sure, you'd like to give a kid a chance to get a no-hitter but his first start, I'm sure his pitch count hadn't been up there. You have to look after his health, and that's what they were doing."
In a decision sure to be debated around baseball, Roberts removed Stripling after the right-hander walked Angel Pagan on his 100th pitch. Stripling was on a pitch count, even if he didn't know about it. Roberts debated sending him out for the eighth.
"It was the right call," Stripling said. "It was a tough decision for him and I certainly had no ill feelings toward the decision one bit."
And Stripling told Roberts just that when they met in his office with the game still going after the skipper got ejected.
"He's coming off Tommy John, he threw 70 innings last year," Roberts said. "It's a great story. He pitched well, but under no circumstance am I going to even consider putting his future in jeopardy."
The 26-year-old rookie had never pitched above Double-A and missed the 2014 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He was trying to become the first pitcher since Bumpus Jones in 1892 to throw a no-hitter in his big league debut.
Stripling struck out four and walked four. Hatcher relieved and Trevor Brown greeted him with a tying, two-run homer.
Moments later, Roberts was tossed following a quick confrontation between Hatcher and plate umpire Jeff Kellogg after a close pitch.
The homers by Crawford and Brown were the Giants' only hits.
"We didn't barrel-up very many balls," Crawford said. "He was keeping the ball away from us, mixing up with his changeup and a curveball. We just weren't able to get a whole lot of solid contact."
Talk about a tough no-decision for Stripling to take. Roberts said before the game he met the pitcher's parents earlier in the day at the team hotel, and the pitcher left 21 tickets for friends and family.
Stripling, a 2012 fifth-round draft pick, capitalized on a trio of defensive gems.
Yasiel Puig made a diving catch in right to rob Matt Duffy in the second and Stripling then ran down Crawford's bunt toward third and fired a one-hopper to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez for a slick play.
Center fielder Joc Pederson sprinted hard to his left to make a diving, backhanded catch on Denard Span's fly to start the fourth.
Stripling went 3-6 with a 3.66 ERA for Double-A Tulsa and Class A Great Lakes last year. He threw a no-hitter for Texas A&M against San Diego State in May 2012.
A day after the Giants rallied for a 12-6 win on 17 hits, Stripling silenced San Francisco's bats with relative ease.
Santiago Casilla (1-0) retired one batter in the 10th for the win.
On Saturday, it will be Clayton Kershaw-Madison Bumgarner in their first edition of 2016. The ace lefties are each 1-0 and matched up four times in 2015. This will be the eighth overall meeting between them.
"He's the best pitcher in baseball," Bumgarner said. "Pretty good guy, except his looks, they're bad. You can write that down."
Dodgers: OF Carl Crawford, limited by a stiff lower back, was out of the lineup and not scheduled to start Saturday against Bumgarner. Roberts said Crawford's status would need to be re-evaluated by Monday's off day to keep the Dodgers from playing a prolonged period with a short bench. ... 2B Howie Kendrick (calf) was to play 3B for Class A Rancho Cucamonga before two games at second. ... C Yasmani Grandal (sore right forearm) was playing for Triple-A Oklahoma City in Nashville. Both are scheduled to be activated for Tuesday's home opener.
Giants: Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, 78, was in attendance after his health struggles in recent years. "Glad to be here," he said from his regular booth. "I had a couple close calls but I'm doing better."
Dodgers: Kershaw is 2-4 with a 2.12 ERA in the head-to-head outings with Bumgarner. "I think we're friends. It doesn't mean I don't want to beat him," Kershaw said.
Giants: Bumgarner owns a 4-2 record with a 2.58 ERA in such matchups, with the Giants going 3-1 in 2015 when facing Kershaw on days Bumgarner pitched.