Dodgers won’t have Stripling back for finale with Rangers
Los Angeles had hoped to have right-hander Ross Stripling back from the disabled list Tuesday to help its beleaguered bullpen, but his return has been pushed back to at least the weekend when the pitcher said his lower back still wasn’t pain-free.
While Stripling won’t be in action for a few more games, the Dodgers didn’t need him Tuesday, relying on their 15-hit offense that included four RBIs from Manny Machado in an 8-4 victory over Texas at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.
Los Angeles has won four straight games and is 3-0 against the Rangers this season after sweeping Texas in a two-game set at Dodger Stadium earlier in the year.
The Dodgers will send left-hander Alex Wood (7-6, 3.60 ERA) to the mound in the finale of the truncated series while Texas will counter with left-hander Mike Minor (10-6, 4.40). Both pitchers were a part of the Braves‘ staff in 2014.
Stripling said he didn’t have a setback and he threw on flat ground Tuesday. He expects to throw a bullpen session Wednesday and said a weekend return now is a logical target. He went on the disabled list Aug. 15 and hasn’t pitched since Aug. 9.
“Not pushing it,” Stripling said. “Probably could pitch, probably be fine, but being smart about it and give it at least one more time off the mound and go from there. It’s not like a re-emergence of symptoms. Lower-back stuff is hit or miss.
“It’s tough when you’re trying to be in a race to win a division and feel like I could go and help guys out. The idea is give it a couple more days and be 100 percent, and be good to go and not have to worry about it, instead of being tentative and not trust it.”
Rangers reliever Matt Bush admitted the inevitable Tuesday — he is not expected to pitch again this season. Bush has been sidelined since June 13 with a strained flexor tendon and has not yet been able to throw off a mound. He has been limited to throwing long toss.
The injury goes back to spring training and has never subsided. Bush said he had tightness and discomfort in the spring when he was being converted into a starter and didn’t think anything about it.
“I’m taking it easy and following the plan,” Bush told MLB.com before Tuesday’s game. “That’s all I can do. I’d like to be in the game, it’s tough not being out there. But I have to stick with the plan. I had Tommy John (surgery) in the past (2007), and we are just being smart about it.”
Bush began the season in the bullpen, but was sent to Triple-A Round Rock on April 25 with a 3.97 ERA. He came back up to the Rangers on May 21 and struggled with a 5.40 ERA in eight appearances before going on the disabled list.
Wood last pitched Aug. 20 at home against the Cardinals when he allowed three runs on seven hits in four innings and did not factor into the decision in the Dodgers’ 5-3 loss. In 24 starts, he has struck out 117 batters against 33 walks, while posting a 1.19 WHIP.
Wood has made one start against the Rangers on Sept. 12, 2014 as a member of the Braves, allowing one run on four hits in seven innings.
Minor will make his 24th start of the season Wednesday and will be working on extended six days’ rest after earning the win in Rangers’ 4-2 victory at Oakland on Aug. 23. Minor faced the minimum, allowing one hit and one walk in six shutout innings, and ended that start by retiring the last 11 batters faced. It was his 10th quality start of the season and third in his last four outings.
Minor has gone 1-2 with a 2.56 ERA in seven games, six of them starts, in his career versus the Dodgers. He has not started against the Dodgers since Aug. 12, 2014 when he was with Atlanta in what ended up as a 4-2 Braves’ defeat at Turner Field.