The Dodgers have Ricky Nolasco slated to start in Game 4 on Tuesday, but that does not mean he will actually take the mound. He was supposed to start in the NLDS, but Clayton Kershaw went on three days rest instead.
With the Dodgers down 2-1 in the NLCS they have little room for mistakes. Do they really want Ricky Nolasco to take the mound in Game 4?
"I'll probably be able to tell you a lot more after the game. So I would say, yes, today's results may have something to do," Don Mattingly said pre-game Monday. "But like I said, Ricky is ready to go right now."
A somewhat wishy-washy statement from the Dodgers manager, especially since he said the same thing about Nolasco during the NLDS. Key words being, "right now," since the next day they ended up choosing Clayton Kershaw on short rest.
Maybe since the Dodgers won on Monday, Mattingly would be able to commit to his Game 4 starter. He said Nolasco would be starting, but there still seemed to be some wiggle room.
"He's been set up the whole time for Game 4. As of right now, Ricky Nolasco will be pitching tomorrow," Mattingly said.
Key words being, "As of right now." So does that mean when the lineup comes out on Tuesday that Nolasco will be listed, or will Mattingly shift over to Zack Greinke on short rest?
If the Dodgers did start Nolasco they would be putting a starting pitcher on the mound who has seen just one inning of action since Sept. 26, and has no postseason experience. Or they could start Greinke, who has pitched 14 innings this postseason and threw eight innings of two-hit, two-run ball with 10 strikeouts against the Cardinals in Game 1.
The Dodgers have two home games left, out of four remaining in the NLCS, and are two losses away from being eliminated. They need to win three games in order to advance to the World Series.
Down 2-1 in a best-of-seven series, the Dodgers are not quite in a must-win situation. If they started Greinke and Clayton Kershaw they would be putting in two pitchers on short rest, but it might be best to give Nolasco a shot and use their aces on regular rest.
Who knows, maybe Nolasco will get the start on Tuesday and deliver an impressive performance like Hyun-Jin Ryu's seven shutout innings on Monday.