Dave Roberts: ‘No Wrong’ Choice Between Ryan Pepiot & Michael Grove For Dodgers Starting Rotation

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

The Los Angeles Dodgers roster for 2023 Opening Day is becoming more clear by the day, but one question still to be answered is who will fill in the final spot in the starting rotation.

It originally belonged to Tony Gonsolin, but a sprained left ankle is going to put him on the 15-day injured list to begin the season. That leaves Ryan Pepiot and Michael Grove competing for the fifth spot after Gavin Stone was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

It is presumed Pepiot is the favorite, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said there hasn’t been separation in the competition and the team is comfortable with both options, via Juan Toribio of MLB.com:

“It’s close,” manager Dave Roberts said of the race for the last spot in the rotation. “There really is no wrong direction.”

Pepiot has had the better spring of the two pitchers, posting a 3.29 ERA in 13.2 innings with 19 strikeouts across five games. Grove looked great early but struggled recently and now owns a 5.40 ERA over 16.2 innings of work with 17 strikeouts in six games.

Pepiot was one of the best pitchers last season in all of Triple-A’s Western Division, posting a 2.56 ERA and 1.07 WHIP across 91.1 innings over 17 starts. At the Major League level, he made seven starts, with a 3.47 ERA across 36.1 innings pitched.

Grove appeared in seven games for the Dodgers last season, finishing with a 4.60 ERA. In the Minors, he held a 3.79 ERA and 1.22 WHIP across 19 games with Double-A Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

James Outman named to Dodgers Opening Day roster

Position players on the Dodgers Opening Day roster for the 2023 season is now complete with Roberts confirming Jason Heyward will be with the team to start the season, and announcing rookie James Outman also earned a spot.

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