LOS ANGELES – The Padres may be almost out of the playoff race, but they played with much more tenacity than the Dodgers in this game and the series. The Dodgers came out flat on offense and Ryan Pepiot got roughed up in a game to forget.
Ryan Pepiot was not the usual dominant arm that we have seen this year coming off of his injury. The Padres tagged him for four earned runs courtesy of two home runs in six innings of work. The common was off for Pepiot in this one and he looked off from the get go, but there is still reason for optimism on his end. As long as he continues to learn and grow as a starting arm, he will be plenty useful down the stretch.
Another negative was Joe Kelly, who was recalled from his rehab assignment before the game. Kelly only went ⅔ of an inning and walked two and gave up two runs, although he was squeezed a bit by the home plate umpire. Regardless, it still baffles me that they sent down Kyle Hurt, who in the previous game, had one of the most dominant outings we have seen from a Dodger pitcher all year.
There is not much to talk about from the Dodgers offensive side of the ball. They amassed only three hits and one was from Kolten Wong who homered in his first at-bat of the game in the bottom of the ninth. A ton of credit has to be thrown to Blake Snell, who is highly regarded as the leading Cy Young candidate in the National League. Snell had his whole arsenal working and the Dodger hitters could not touch any of it. Maybe the Dodger players celebrated Freddie Freeman’s birthday a bit too hard…
The Dodgers are now 88-57, 13 ½ games up in the National League West, and their magic number is down to 4.
Here are my three takeaways:
Kyle Hurt Optioned
I understand it was one outing, but the move to send Kyle Hurt right back down to the minor leagues after he got in at 6:45 the night before and absolutely dominated the Padres top hitters just baffles me to no end. Joe Kelly came back Wednesday night and he will be much needed although he slipped up in this game, but Hurt looked excellent and had electric stuff in his two innings of work the night before. I hope we see him again in the big leagues this year, because I thought he could be a force now and in the playoffs.
Pepiot Not Crisp
There are growing pains when you talk about such a young staff like the Dodgers have right now. Ryan Pepiot had a minor setback in terms of performance, but I do suspect he will be better off from this. His command was not there, which lead to him leaving balls over the plate which the Padres took full advantage of. His velocity was still there, which is a good sign, and I think we all have to realize that these young arms will go through peaks and valleys. I am just glad it is happening now as opposed to October.
Padres Win Series
I have mentioned momentum a lot these days as one of the Dodgers most crucial topics to focus on. It seems they haven’t got the memo yet. Look, I know that this team is way ahead in the division and close to clinching the National League West title, but losing series after series to teams that aren’t going to sniff the playoffs and that are in the playoff hunt is not a good sign. This team made that mistake in 2022 going into October and I really hope they learned their lesson and get hot in these last few weeks.