LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he flip-flopped several times before deciding during Game 3 that he would start Ricky Nolasco in Tuesday's Game 4 of the National League Championship Series against the Cardinals instead of Game 1 starter Zack Greinke on three days' rest.
"I don't know how to explain it, but it just didn't feel right," Mattingly said about bringing Greinke back on short rest the way he did Clayton Kershaw for Game 4 of the NL Division Series against the Braves. "When Clayton came to us, my feeling was it was a no-brainer. I didn't feel the same this time.
"Before [Monday's] game, I thought about it. It was on my mind all day, and when I got to the park, like, what's the right thing to do? It kept sinking in, and around the third inning, I said to [pitching coach] Rick [Honeycutt] to go with Ricky tomorrow."
Mattingly said Greinke and Kershaw volunteered to pitch Games 4 and 5 on short rest. So even if Nolasco had not started Game 4 at home in a non-elimination situation, he would have been starting Game 6 on the road in a possible elimination situation.
Mattingly said he would have stayed with Nolasco even if the Dodgers had lost Monday night and faced elimination in Game 4. He said pitching Nolasco at home instead of on the road didn't enter the equation.
"It was all about Zack," Mattingly said. "That's where it turned."
Nolasco hasn't started a game since Sept. 25, unless you count a five-inning simulated game last Wednesday.
"Ricky's in a bad spot," conceded Mattingly. "That's what happens to four starters in the playoffs.
Mattingly said he considers Greinke an ace like Kershaw, but hinted that their different personalities influenced his decision.
"Zack looks at things one way and Clayton looks at things differently," said Mattingly. "Zack really thinks about every aspect. He doesn't miss anything. Clayton is a little more, 'I feel good, ready to go.'
"I just didn't feel it was good for [Greinke]. I look at him as a true ace, a top-quality pitcher. I didn't want him to have to go out there and say, 'I can give you five innings or 70 pitches.'"
The way the rotation sets up, Game 3 winner Hyun-Jin Ryu would start a Game 7 if the series goes the distance.
Hanley, Ethier in lineup for second straight game
LOS ANGELES -- Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier felt well enough despite their broken bones to be back in the Dodgers' lineup for Tuesday's Game 4 of the National League Championship Series against the Cardinals.
Ramirez, in fact, went med-free. To play Game 3, he took a pain-killing injection in the area of his eighth rib on the left side. Ramirez sustained a hairline fracture to the rib when he was hit by a 95-mph Joe Kelly pitch in Game 1.
But for Game 4, he did not receive an injection. Ramirez reported that when batting, he feels discomfort only briefly when he pulls the bat back into the loaded position, but he said he has no discomfort on the swing or follow-through.
Ethier, dealing with a microfracture of his lower left leg, like Ramirez returned for Game 3 after sitting out nearly all of Game 2. He said he felt the same Tuesday as he did Monday.
Manager Don Mattingly said he had no idea whether either of the injured players would be able to rebound in time for Wednesday's day game.
"I feel it's just day to day with these guys," Mattingly said. "Today, I came here not knowing if they'd be available, but they're good today. It's Game 200 whatever it is, and any guy going from night to day -- I'm sure Adrian [Gonzalez] will be moving slow. A lot of guys feel that way. These two guys really have issues, and how they'll bounce back, we have no idea."
Wallach's gamble to send Crawford pays off
LOS ANGELES -- The third Dodgers run in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series on Monday night was scored by Carl Crawford on Hanley Ramirez's single, but only because of third-base coach Tim Wallach.
With Crawford on second and Mark Ellis on first, Ramirez sent a flare just over the outstretched glove of Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong. Crawford hesitated until he saw the ball drop, then headed for third looking content to stay there.
But Wallach waved Crawford home.
"With the third-base coach, you just do what they tell you," said Crawford. "I knew that it was close, that the ball wasn't too far. I knew the ball wasn't in the outfield. I knew I was going to have to just dig a little bit harder."
Instead of throwing home, Wong flipped the ball toward second base. Shortstop Daniel Descalso's relay home was barely late as Crawford's spikes hit the plate just before catcher Yadier Molina got the tag down.
"He was thinking about staying [at third] because he had to hold a little bit to see if the ball would drop," said Wallach. "But I thought the second baseman would have a tough play. He slid to get the ball and had to pick it up and spin and throw it home. I made the decision to send him before I saw that he threw the ball to second.
"I thought it would be a tough play for him to throw out Crawford at the plate. I thought it was a good gamble to take. Descalso has a good arm and he made a good throw. I don't know if it would have been a lot different if the second baseman had thrown home. It would have taken a perfect throw."
Wallach, in his third season as the Dodgers' third-base coach, is expected to be a candidate for one or more of the four vacant managerial jobs this winter.
Wilson piling up innings with no earned runs allowed
LOS ANGELES -- Brian Wilson tossed another scoreless inning Monday night in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, and the Dodgers reliever is now fourth in Major League history with 16 2/3 postseason innings without allowing an earned run.
The former Giants closer has made a smooth transition to a setup role with the Dodgers in 2013, and he is 1-0 with seven strikeouts over five innings this October.
Fear the Beard
|1.||J. Rocker||1998-2001||20||20 2/3|
|4.||B. Wilson||2010-13||15||16 2/3|
|5.||D. Cook||1996-2000||19||16 1/3|
|6.||D. Mails||1920||2||15 2/3|
"I just shorten the game," said Wilson, who signed with the Dodgers in July and is coming off Tommy John surgery. "I pretend the game is over, and then I watch another inning. It doesn't really matter what role I'm in. I wasn't born to throw the final three outs. I was born to be a pitcher, and that's what I'm doing. Regardless of when they want me to come into the game, my job is to put up a zero."
Wilson was charged with an unearned run in his first career postseason appearance, blowing a save against the Braves in the 2010 NL Division Series with San Francisco. Since that outing, Wilson has not allowed a run in 14 2/3 innings over 14 appearances.
John Rocker holds the Major League record with 20 2/3 postseason innings without allowing an earned run, doing so from 1998-2001. Joe Niekro is second with 20 innings (1980-87), while Joe McGinnity is third with 17 (1905).
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.