Ryan Pepiot Edges Michael Grove For 5th Spot In Dodgers Opening Day Rotation

Ryan Pepiot was named the fifth starter for the Los Angeles Dodgers Opening Day rotation, beating out Michael Grove during a Spring Training competition that ran through the penultimate Cactus League game.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently indicated the battle between the right-handers was a tight race as each had performed well. Roberts added the Dodgers would be comfortable with either pitcher rounding out the rotation.

Ultimately, Pepiot’s showing over five starts bested that of Grove’s. He went 1-1 with a 3.29 ERA and 1.39 WHIP to go along with 19 strikeouts against five walks across 13.2 innings pitched.

Pepiot limiting walks was a notable step forward from last season. Though, after making back-to-back starts without allowing a walk, Pepiot issued at least one in each of his past three outings in Spring Training.

Comparatively, Grove went 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA and 1.08 WHIP across six Cactus League starts. Grove collected 17 strikeouts and only walked three batters in 16.2 innings.

An opportunity was created in the Dodgers rotation due to Tony Gonsolin suffering a left ankle sprain while walking off the field after a workout. Gonsolin initially was not expected to miss much time, but the recovery became a slower process and he’s poised to begin the season on the 15-day injured list.

Although Pepiot received the nod over Grove, the Dodgers figure to rely on both pitchers throughout the course of the season, along with the likes of Bobby Miller and Gavin Stone likely making their respective MLB debuts.

Peiot went 3-0 with a 3.47 ERA and 1.46 WHIP over nine games (seven starts) for the Dodgers last season. His struggles stemmed from failing to consistently throw strikes, evident by walking 27 batters over 36.1 innings.

Ryan Pepiot finding comfort

In big league camp for the third time and having made his MLB debut last season, Pepiot has been in a much more relaxed state of mind.

“I’ve developed some good relationships with some of the guys in here, so I feel more comfortable,” he recently told DodgerBlue.com.

“I feel more comfortable being able to go up and talk to everybody and I’ve been able to keep in contact during the offseason with some guys.”

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