The Dodgers ended the charade, lifting the veil on what was already obvious, with Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirming on Tuesday that Ryan Pepiot would start Wednesday’s series finale against the Pirates.
“He’s earned it,” Roberts said.
It turns out bringing one of the organization’s best prospects to Pittsburgh wasn’t just for show.
Veteran left-hander Robbie Erlin was also mentioned by Roberts over the last few days as a candidate to start Wednesday, which was only nominal, holding as much titular truth as 2013 NLDS Game 4 starter Ricky Nolasco or 2014 NLDS Game 4 starer Dan Haren, to name previous chicaneries. Erlin ended up pitching an inning in relief both Sunday and Monday.
Before Roberts confirmed Wednesday’s starter, Pepiot met with reporters in Pittsburgh, usually a step withheld until after a player is added to the roster.
Pepiot in six starts for Triple-A Oklahoma City this season has a 2.05 ERA with 36 strikeouts and 12 walks in 26⅓ innings. The 24-year-old will be pitching Wednesday on four days rest.
The Dodgers will need to make a corresponding move to add Pepiot to the active roster. They already have an open space on the 40-man roster, with both David Price and Mitch White both on the COVID-related injured list.
Pepiot will be the 523rd pitcher to start a game in the history of the Dodgers, dating back to 1884. Counting only the Los Angeles years (since 1958), Pepiot will be the 229th different starting pitcher for the Dodgers.