Dodgers Team News

Dodgers News: Ryan Pepiot’s Struggles Leave Six-Man Rotation in Question

With an insurmountable lead in the NL West and a comfortable lead for best record in baseball, the Dodgers and Dave Roberts have planned at various times to employ a six-man rotation over the final month or so of the season.

The rotation of Tony Gonsolin, Julio Urias, Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heaney, and Dustin May held things down well while Clayton Kershaw was out with a back issue, and the plan was to just slot Kershaw into a six-man rotation on his return. Unfortunately, Gonsolin went down with a forearm strain the same week Kershaw was returning, so those plans were scrapped.

The new plan was unveiled this weekend, as Ryan Pepiot was recalled to make a start on Sunday against the Padres. There was no indication whether it was a spot start or if the plan was to use Pepiot as the sixth starter until Gonsolin returns, but if it was the latter, those plans might be in question after Pepiot’s clunker on Sunday.

Roberts deployed lefty Caleb Ferguson as an opener, and it couldn’t have gone much better, with Ferguson striking out all three batters he faced, all looking, on just eleven pitches.

Sadly, Pepiot was not nearly as efficient. He threw 26 pitches in his first inning of work, and that ended up being his most efficient inning. He allowed an unearned run in the third on two walks, a single, and an error, then walked the first two batters of the fourth inning before being pulled. In total, he threw 74 pitches in two innings (plus two batters), leaving the bullpen to do most of the work.

As J.P. Hoornstra writes in the Orange County Register, Roberts said Pepiot just didn’t have it on Sunday.

“I just thought he ran out of gas,” manager Dave Roberts said of Pepiot. “They were spoiling a lot of pitches. He just didn’t have enough to put those guys away. We had to cover some innings. It was good to see those guys come through to pick us up.”

Overall, the Padres fouled off 19 pitches from Pepiot, compared to just seven swings and misses. Counting the opener, the Dodgers bullpen had to work seven innings on Sunday. As one fan pointed out, that’s not the ideal situation:

At this point, we don’t have firm information on when Gonsolin will be back. The Dodgers have a day off on Thursday and Gonsolin is eligible to come off the IL this weekend, so a quick return would allow them to stick with a six-man rotation even without Pepiot. But with the uncertainty about Gonsolin’s recovery, they probably aren’t willing to bet on that yet.

Pepiot has been optioned four times this year, so his next option will be his last. If they send him back down to Triple-A today, the next time they call him up he has to stay on the roster the rest of the regular season.

Add it all up, and there’s plenty of uncertainty about how the Dodgers will handle their rotation the rest of the year.

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Jeff Snider

Jeff was born into a Dodgers family in Southern California and is now raising a Dodgers family of his own in Utah. During his previous career as an executive at a technology company, he began writing about baseball in his spare time. After leaving corporate America in 2014, he started doing it professionally. Jeff wrote and edited for Baseball Essential for years before joining Dodgers Nation. He's also the co-host of the Locked On Dodgers podcast, a daily podcast that brings the smart fan's perspective on our Boys in Blue. Jeff has a degree in English from Brigham Young University. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw's homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.


  1. They called up the wrong pitcher, should have called up Bobby Miller. Dodgers need starting pitching now, why wait? He was one of their best pitchers in spring training. Bret Saberhagen won the World Series MVP at 20 years old. Age shouldn’t be the reason to hold back minor leaguer that’s ready to contribute in the majors. Who’s to say Bobby Miller isn’t ready now? Pepiot is a hack, he has no business pitching in the major.

    1. While I don’t agree that Pepiot is a ‘hack’ he isn’t ready for the big leagues yet. Obviously. I wonder if the Dodgers are doing him any favors by continuing to run him out there?

      1. Pepiot will never bee an effective pitcher for the Dodgers until he stops walking 4-5 batters per game and starts throwing strikes. He pitches like he is scared of getting pounded and that happens anyway, If he can’t get command of the strikes zone they should mark him for some years in Triple A until he develops into the pitcher they thought they were getting or trade him to someone like the Marlins who need live bodies and let them give him OJT. Right now he is a bottle neck in others progression (like Miller) to the majors!

      2. Whilst I agree that Pepiot isn’t ready to be in the Show and that Bobby Miller should be. One has to wonder why Giants fans are allowed to comment on this section when their management team doesn’t make the ideal decisions to better their squad is beyond me!! This season is one of the best in Dodgers history and they didn’t get there because of poor management decisions, they got there because they are that damn good!!!

  2. Dodgers will lose again in the postseason because of their terrible relief pitchers and also terrible Management which is their legacy

    1. I have said for years that Roberts cannot properly manage a pitching staff against a good team in a short post season series.

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