With the National League West division title locked up and a spot already secured in the NL Division Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers don’t have much to play for in their remaining games, but it’s an opportunity for some players to make their case for the postseason roster.
The team already has their 13 position players set, barring any unforeseen circumstances, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has indicated the pitching staff is still being discussed. While there may be an opening for the final spot on the staff, one player who appears locked into a postseason role is Ryan Pepiot.
The right-hander missed much of the season with an oblique/intercostal injury, but since returning has been arguably the Dodgers’ best pitcher. Over 33 innings, Pepiot has posted a 1.91 ERA with 26 strikeouts and a 0.70 WHIP.
“I mean he’s making a good claim,” Roberts said of Pepiot potentially making the postseason roster. “Starting, coming out of the ‘pen, going as hard as he can for as long as he can. So he’s open to whatever we need.
“And his part of the deal is he’s got to go out there and pitch well, and he’s holding up his end of the deal. So it’s really encouraging what he’s doing.”
Pepiot made his MLB debut last season, and despite a 3.47 ERA, it was somewhat of a struggle as he walked 27 hitters in just 36.1 innings. But this year, Pepiot has limited opposing hitters to just three free passes, which is a huge part of his breakout.
The 26-year-old has also adjusted his pitch usage while finding the changeup that made him one of the most top pitching prospects in baseball.
Pepiot’s only rough outing of the season came against the San Diego Padres in the middle of September when he gave up four runs over six innings. However, he vowed to learn from his mistakes and had a bounce-back appearance his last time out, giving up just one run over six innings.
Pepiot is likely to begin the NLDS in the bullpen with the Dodgers only needing three starters, but he could be the primary option to follow Clayton Kershaw as the piggyback pitcher.
If the Dodgers were to advance to the NL Championship Series, Pepiot should be at the front of the line to pitch the majority of the innings in Game 4 with Emmet Sheehan working as the piggyback for Kershaw.
Ryan Pepiot eager for postseason opportunity
With Pepiot likely to make a postseason roster for the first time in his career, he’s excited for the opportunity and looking to help the Dodgers n whatever way he can.
“Just continuing to execute pitches,” Pepiot began. “Whatever the role is, if it’s start a game or come out of the bullpen, whatever situation arises, just go out there and do what I can to help the team. Give us the best chance to win and keep us in the ballgame.”
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