Dodgers try to bounce back versus Phillies

LOS ANGELES — Asked to pick up the slack when Clayton Kershaw went on the disabled list, Ross Stripling is now expected to stick around even when Kershaw returns from biceps tendonitis Thursday.

Stripling will take the mound against the Phillies on Wednesday, helping to lead the charge of a resurgent Dodgers‘ rotation that has guided the club to nine victories in 11 games prior to Tuesday’s 6-1 loss to Philadelphia.

Stripling (2-1) has done his part over five starts this season, delivering a 1.74 ERA in 41 1/3 innings. Perhaps more impressive are his 10.89 strikeouts per nine innings as a member of the rotation.

Stripling, along with rookie Walker Buehler, has entered the Dodgers’ rotation mix and has pitched like he has always belonged.

“I think it’s (pitch) execution,” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said about how the Dodgers’ rotation has pitched better without Kershaw. “You look at Ross Stripling and the boost he has given us and how he’s executed his pitches. Walker has done the same thing.”

In three appearances against the Phillies (one start), Stripling is 0-0 with a 6.14 ERA.

The Phillies are also boasting a strong starting staff as they have played a far better brand of baseball in 2018. They even held sole possession of first place for one night this past weekend.

Like Stripling and Buehler with the Dodgers, Zach Eflin (1-1, 3.27 ERA) has been called upon to shore up the Phillies’ starting staff. He arrived at the start of May and his four starts have been a mixed bag. He has lasted only 4 1/3 innings in each of his last two starts, but gave up only one total run over his first two outings.

The right-hander has made two career starts against the Dodgers, both in Los Angeles. He was rocked for seven runs in three innings of a 2016 outing, but was much better in giving up two runs on four hits over seven innings last season.

Since May 5, four days after Elfin joined the Philadelphia starting staff, the Phillies’ rotation had a combined 2.09 ERA heading into Tuesday night’s game. Over 116 innings, the staff had 135 strikeouts and allowed two earned runs or fewer in 17 of 20 games.

Elfin would like to add more of those types of games, but he will have to improve on an outing Friday against the Blue Jays, when he gave up six runs (five earned) on nine hits.

The Phillies remain intent on distancing themselves from a crushing defeat Monday when the Dodgers scored three times in the eighth inning for a 6-5 victory. Their victory Tuesday started the healing.

Philadelphia also lost a heartbreaker in L.A. last year and went on to lose 24 of their next 30.

“Tomorrow is a new day. We’ll come in with a new energy and expect to win,” Phillies infielder Maikel Franco told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “What happened last year is not going to happen. It’s not going to be the same thing. Try to forget the day and be ready to go.”