Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers Opening Day roster is all but official with some of their final decisions made in the past few days, including the competition for the fifth starter between Ryan Pepiot and Michael Grove.
The spot in the rotation opened up when Tony Gonsolin injured his left ankle walking off a practice field earlier in spring. Gonsolin was initially expected to return quickly, but a slow recovery pushed his timeline back past Opening Day.
Pepiot ultimately won out the job in what Dodgers manager Dave Roberts considered a close competition with no wrong choice.
Roberts said that belief made the choice between the two pitchers the most difficult one the Dodgers hade to make on their roster, via Juan Toribio of MLB.com:
“They both earned that opportunity. Probably the toughest decision we had to think through,” Roberts said. “I guess, to put it more simply, we just felt Ryan outperformed Michael this spring. … We just felt it was the right decision at this point in time.”
Pepiot’s Spring was more impressive than Grove’s as he pitched to a 3.29 ERA and 1.39 WHIP to go along with 19 strikeouts against five walks across 13.2 innings. Limiting the opposition to just five walks was a notable step for Pepiot, who struggled with his command last season.
Comparatively, Grove held a 5.40 ERA and 1.08 WHIP across six Cactus League starts while collecting 17 strikeouts to three walks in 16.2 innings.
Pepiot is also considered to have more upside as a higher-ranked prospect backed by his elite changeup, but the Dodgers should rely on both right-handers throughout the season.
Both made their MLB debuts last year, with Pepiot making seven starts with a 3.47 ERA across 36.1 innings pitched while Grove appeared in seven games with a 4.60 ERA.
When will Ryan Pepiot pitch for the Dodgers?
Pepiot’s first start of the season will come on Monday, April 3, against the Colorado Rockies.
Pepiot is scheduled to take the mound in the finale of the exhibition Freeway Series on Tuesday night for his final tuneup.
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