Rockies @ Dodgers July 5, 2022: Ryan Pepiot and Co. for series win

The Dodgers (50-29) beat the Rockies (35-45) last night by a score of 5-3, and are now 3-4 against Colorado this season. With a win tonight, they’ll look to tie the season series at four a piece and additionally win this series at home after losing two of three against them a week ago in Colorado. Ryan Pepiot will be on the mound making just his fourth career start, up against the 27 year-old German Marquez. With San Diego (47-36) losing today, the Dodgers are five games up in the NL West, their largest lead of the season, and they can push it to 5.5 games tonight with a win against Colorado.

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7:10 PM Los Angeles
RF Joe RF Betts
LF Bryant SS T. Turner
DH Blackmon (L) 1B Freeman (L)
1B Cron C Smith
2B Rodgers 3B Muncy (L)
3B McMahon (L) DH J. Turner
SS Iglesias LF Lamb (L)
CF Daza CF Bellinger (L)
C Díaz 2B Lux (L)
P Márquez (R) P Pepiot (R)

Last night the Dodgers’ bats were relatively quiet until a three run homer by Trayce Thompson got Julio Urias some much needed run support in the bottom of the fifth inning. In total, the team managed eight hits, with three coming from Justin Turner who’s been on a tear recently. It’s been a rough season for him, so it’s been great to see him turning things around. A significant chunk of it is due to his recent play, but since 5/10 and over his previous 49 games, Turner has now slashed .276/.352/.471, for an .823 OPS and 130 wRC+. Over his last 15 games, he’s slashing .373/.435/.627, with a 1.063 OPS and 186 wRC+. He’s up to a 96 wRC+ on the year, nearing league average which is well below his standards, but impressive considering his incredibly slow start. In 13 games and 38 plate appearances with the Dodgers this season, Trayce Thompson owns a 147 wRC+ and .885 OPS. He does also have 14 strikeouts and a 36.8% strikeout rate, but he’s done his job so far. Jake Lamb will be making his fifth appearance of the season for the Dodgers as Chris Taylor sits.

Anyways, against right-handed pitching these two teams are on very opposite ends of the offensive spectrum. The Dodgers’ own the best offense in baseball against right-handed pitching by wRC+ (117), OPS (.771), OBP (.330), and Slugging (.441), while the Rockies have the third lowest wRC+ at 81 against right-handed pitchers. All of Colorado’s other offensive stats are higher due to playing at Coors Field, but wRC+ adjusts for that and demonstrates that they’re just not a particularly potent offense. Still, Ryan Pepiot is a rookie who has had serious command issues in each of his first three starts this year, so the offense will still need to put runs on the board.

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Here’s how Pepiot and Márquez matchup. For Márquez, these rankings are out of 64 qualified starters with at least 80 innings pitched.

Márquez has not been great this year. No way around that. That’s been unfortunate for Colorado, as he had been coming off another solid year, with a 4.40 ERA and 3.86 FIP. ERA- and FIP- both adjust for the offensive environment he pitches in, with last season being his fifth consecutive season being above average in both. It can be a little misleading just looking at his career 4.43 ERA, but his career ERA- of 92 and FIP- of 88 indicate he’s been an above average pitcher for his entire career.

He has three years left on his contract, and that means that the Rockies have to decide if they want to build around their best, most durable, and solid pitcher in recent years, or to move him and build from what they net in return for Márquez. Luckily that’s their problem and not mine, but being the Rockies, they’ll likely hold onto him for three years and let him go for nothing. He’s young, affordable, good, and all contending teams could use a starter like him. He left his previous start (also against the Dodgers) with a cut on the thumb of his throwing hand, resulting in five earned runs on five hits with two strikeouts and three walks over 3.1 innings. Prior to that start, he had his best outing of the year by far, going 7.2 scoreless innings allowing just three hits, albeit with five walks and just two strikeouts. He’s just had a bad year overall, with his lowest strikeout rate of his career at 18.7%, and his highest walk rate of his career at 8.5%.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers are starting Pepiot, who has 149 less starts than Márquez. Mitch White was scheduled to start, amidst the team playing 20 games in 20 days, Pepiot starting allows all other starters to get an extra day of rest. Pepiot has a 3.18 ERA through his first three starts, but has eleven walks in just 11.1 innings. Everything else has been entirely fine, but this issue has also plagued him in the minors this year as well. He’s issued three free passes in each of his last three starts in Triple-A, and 25 in total in 55.2 innings in 2022, albeit with 76 strikeouts. Despite the walks, he’s allowed just a .179 batting average against him, resulting in a 1.94 ERA in Triple-A.

It’s a tiny sample size for Pepiot in the majors, but in 40 plate appearances against left-handed batters, he’s walked ten for a 25% walk rate, and has walked just one of the twelve right-handed batters he’s faced. Maybe it’s nothing, but with Colorado starting just two left-handed batters today, it’s possible that could potentially play into Pepiot’s favor? Or not! Who knows. His last outing in the majors came on May 27, but it was undoubtedly his best outing this far. He went 4.1 innings against the Diamondbacks, allowing just one run on three hits and three walks while striking out five. If he can command the ball at all he’ll be good, and the team as usual could use some depth after using five pitchers last night.

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Edwin Rios returning would be a beneficial addition, at the very least off the bench.

Call me crazy, but the best option in my mind would be to place both of them on the 10-day IL, bring up a couple guys and let both of them get healthy.

Good news on Andrew Heaney.

Great news on Blake Treinen. The team will need him more in August, September, and October more than they need him in the beginning of July, although if he’d been healthy all year the Dodgers would likely have a few more wins.

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This makes sense, as Reyes Moronta pitched last night and has additionally given up a home run in each of his last three outings.

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As expected for the Dodgers’ starting rotation.

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First pitch is at 7:10 PM PDT on SNLA and MLB Network.

About Allan Yamashige

Just a guy living in Southern California, having a good time writing about baseball. Hated baseball practice as a kid, but writing about it rules. Thanks for reading!