LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly resisted the temptation to change his rotation for Tuesday’s Game Four against the St. Louis Cardinals and have ace Zack Greinke pitch on just three days’ rest.
Mattingly has instead kept faith with Ricky Nolasco, who will start for the Dodgers as scheduled, with Greinke set to pitch in Wednesday’s Game Five in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series which the Cardinals lead 2-1.
Before Monday’s Game Three in Los Angeles, Mattingly had hinted he might change the rotation, especially given that his potent one-two of Greinke and Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw had both expressed interest in pitching ahead of schedule.
“The way it went down more than anything was Zack and Clayton both wanting to pitch and offering to pitch on three days (rest),” Mattingly told reporters ahead of Tuesday’s Game Four at Dodger Stadium.
”Honestly, we went back and forth and thought of different scenarios. We flip-flopped more than once on what we wanted to do with it, and at the end of the day ... we said we’d wait until after the game (Three).
“As the game went on, I just told Rick I didn’t feel good about it, and we’re going with everybody staying where they’re at. Ricky would have went, win or lose (in Game Three), today.”
Greinke and Kershaw pitched in Games One and Two respectively in St. Louis, where the Cardinals opened up a 2-0 series lead, before rookie Ryu Hyun-jin outdueled Adam Wainwright on Monday as the Dodgers won 3-0 to climb back into the series.
Though Nolasco has not started a game since September 25, Kershaw having pitched in his place on three days’ rest in the division series, Mattingly was confident in the right-hander’s ability to flourish in typically calm fashion on Tuesday.
”I think he’s good,“ the Dodgers manager said. ”Ricky seems to be calm about everything. He’s a guy that’s come into this setting and pitched really well for us.
”He’s a professional about his work. He doesn’t say a whole lot. He just prepares.
“I feel like Ricky’s going to be fine tonight. We’ll check on him from the standpoint of just seeing how he’s feeling. Not really worried about him as far as being ready or being scared and all that stuff.”
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Frank Pingue