This lineup has finally broken through after a brief slump to begin the month. The Dodgers crushed Marlins pitching as Ryan Pepiot continued his dominance in an almost perfect effort.
The star of the night was the most dominant young arm the Dodgers have at this point, in Ryan Pepiot. Yes, I am also well aware that Bobby Miller is still a part of the rotation. Pepiot retired the first twenty batters he faced before Josh Bell singled in the seventh inning. He had every pitch working Thursday night, and went seven innings, giving up only one hit with three strikeouts to lower his season ERA to 0.86. Pepiot should remain with the big league club for the rest of the year and in the playoffs due to his recent play and it was always questionable as to why the Dodgers even sent him down in the first place.
I am sure Dodger fans were relieved to see this lineup finally let out some steam. The Dodgers out hit the Marlins 16-2 and had three players have three-hit games. Will Smith, Chris Taylor, and Miguel Rojas all had monster games, with Taylor in particular coming a triple short of the cycle. This is the kind of offense that this team is capable of and should carry into the series against Washinton, a team that is under .500 on the year.
The Dodgers are now 85-54, still 13 ½ games up in the National League West and their magic number is down to only 9.
Here are my three takeaways:
Ryan Pepiot Close To Perfection
It is no secret that ever since being recalled from both Triple-A and the injured list, Ryan Pepiot has been the Dodgers best starting pitcher. Sure Bobby Miller was electric in his last start against Atlanta, but Pepiot has looked downright dominant in almost every start since he has returned. Like I mentioned earlier, he has a sub one ERA and his pitches look absolutely filthy, with opponents only having three hits off of him in the last three games. I still can’t believe that the Dodgers sent him down briefly at all, as the starting staff needs a ton of help anyways. I can almost assure that he will be with the big league team and on the playoff roster if healthy.
Chris Taylor Has Quietly Been Great
Taylor went 3-5 with five RBI, a triple short of the cycle, and it was only the second time in his career that he has driven in five. Since the middle of August, he has hit .340 with a .450 OBP and a 1.050 OPS. Taylor has always been a hot and cold hitter, but this is probably the most locked in we have seen him since 2017 in his breakout season. The team is going to need his versatility, but more importantly his speed and bat down the stretch.
Mookie Betts Leaves Game On Crutches
Betts got an X-Ray Thursday night after fouling a ball off of his foot in his last at-bat of the game. Reports are saying that it was only precautionary, but the fact that he left the game on crutches is not a good sign. Although the results were negative, having Mookie not put weight on his foot at all should be concerning. If he did avoid a major injury, the Dodgers should rest him as much as possible with their big division lead. We will continue to provide updates as we get them.
The Dodgers will send Emeett Sheehan to the mound while the Nationals will send Mackenzie Gore to the rubber. First pitch is set for 4:05 PM PST Friday.