The Los Angeles Dodgers own a commanding lead in the National League West and look primed to clinch the division, but their quest to the finish line became a little more difficult, and not just because of the San Diego Padres’ aggressive trade deadline.
On Friday, the Dodgers placed Clayton Kershaw on the 15-day injured list with lower back pain and recalled reliever Reyes Moronta from Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Kershaw previously spent one month on the IL this season due to right SI joint inflammation that caused discomfort in his back.
Without Kershaw, the Dodgers have an open spot in their rotation to fill, and after trading Mitch White to the Toronto Blue Jays, it seems likely they’re going to rely on rookie Ryan Pepiot to take Kershaw’s place.
“Obviously we have to fill his spot in the rotation,” Roberts said. “We’ve called up Moronta for the short term.
“Dustin May is going to continue his rehab. I think he pitches on Tuesday, he’ll go five innings at OKC, and the world will look different then and we’ll make a decision on whether he should make another one, which is most likely.
“So now you’re looking at somebody in our system to make that start. So obviously, Pepiot certainly makes sense.”
Pepiot, one of the organization’s top pitching prospects, has already made four starts this season for the Dodgers; three of which came in May. In his outing on July 5, Pepiot turned in his best start and lowered his season ERA to 2.76 in 16.1 innings with 19 strikeouts.
“Definitely just each time I’ve been out there, a little more comfortable each time,” Pepiot said after the Dodgers’ 5-2 win against the Colorado Rockies. “And then today just really kind of put the pieces together.”
Pepiot shining with OKC
With the OKC Dodgers, Pepiot has thrown 75.1 innings with a 2.27 ERA while striking out 93 and walking 32 across 15 games (13 starts).
The right-hander has thrown a career-high seven innings in each of his past two games, the second of which was out of the bullpen to follow an opener.
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