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Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Talks Decision to Go with Pepiot over Grove

On Friday, the Dodgers finally decided to name rookie Ryan Pepiot as the number 5 starter on the pitching staff, at least while Tony Gonsolin is out. It was a move that became increasingly obvious each day Gonsolin remained on the sideline.

Even though it was pretty obvious that the move was coming, manager Dave Roberts shared that the competition was a little closer with fellow rookie Michael Grove. Here’s what he told reporters.

“It was a tough one. They both made tremendous strides and both earned that opportunity,” Roberts said. “I guess to put it more simply we just felt that Ryan outperformed Michael this spring. I don’t always want to look at it as a competition and over-evaluate spring. We just felt it was the right decision at this point in time but we expect Michael to pitch considerable innings for us this year as well.”

Via Bill Plunkett, OC Register

Pepiot posted the better ERA and strikeout totals between the two, albeit in fewer innings. Grove succeeded more in keeping runners off the basepaths (1.08 WHIP vs 1.39 WHIP) but allowed twice as many runs as Pepiot in just 3 more innings. Stats lines will make that make more sense.

  • Grove: 0-1, 5.40 ERA, 6 G, 16.2 IP, 15 H, 10 ER, 3 BB, 17 K, 1.08 WHIP
  • Pepiot: 1-1, 3.29 ERA, 5 G, 13.2 IP, 14 H, 5 ER, 5 BB, 19 K, 1.39 WHIP

So yes, Pepiot outperformed Grove. But it wasn’t all about the numbers in Roberts’ eyes. The 25-year-old Pepiot came into spring training on a mission to prove himself and prove that can get big league hitters out consistently. At least more consistent than he displayed in his brief time with the Dodgers last season.

“He’s made huge strides,” Roberts said about Pepiot. “With the mechanics, I think the delivery is a lot more consistent so the throws are much more consistent. There just seems to be more clarity. Things have slowed down for him. With all that, we just feel his stuff plays at the major-league level.”

Pepiot wasn’t exactly bad in his debut season in 2022 (3-0, 3.47 ERA over 9 games) but he struggled mightily with command, walking 27 batters in 36.1 innings. He told in the offseason that was his number one area of focus coming into the spring and it looks like his efforts proved to be a success.

If everything lines up according to plan, the right-hander will make his 2023 debut against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium on Monday, April 3.

Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor and manager of, and a host and analyst on DN's Blue Heaven podcast live stream. Since joining Dodgers Nation, Clint has helped grow the site into a top-50 baseball website in the world. He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future. He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

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