Dodgers' plans to start Nolasco could change after Game 3

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles could opt to start aces Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw on short rest.

Those wishy-washy Dodgers are at it again: Ricky Nolasco is not a lock to start NLCS Game 4 after all, reports Jim Bowden of ESPN. Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly had previously reported that there were no current plans to start aces Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw on short rest in the series, but now claims that those plans could change depending on the result of Game 3 on Monday. Rookie left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu is scheduled to start Game 3 against St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright.

This is not the first time in this postseason that Nolasco's status has been up in the air. He was scheduled to start Game 4 of the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves, but was replaced by Kershaw in a game-day decision. Kershaw pitched well and helped the team to victory despite starting on three days' rest for the first time in his major league career. If Nolasco were skipped this time, he would be replaced by Greinke.

Nolasco isn't viewed as a particularly reliable option for the Dodgers despite going 8-3 with a 3.52 ERA in 12 regular-season starts for the team after being acquired in a midseason trade from the Miami Marlins. His career ERA+ of 94 suggests that he is a below-average pitcher, and he fell apart in his final three starts of the season -- he allowed 19 runs (17 earned) in 12 innings in those three starts and allowed his opponents to hit for a 1.079 OPS. The right-hander hasn't pitched in a game since a relief appearance on Sept. 29.

Ryu (14-8, 3.00) and Wainwright (19-9, 2.94) square off at 8:00 p.m. ET on Monday. Whoever starts Game 4 for Los Angeles is likely to face right-hander Lance Lynn (15-10, 3.97), who was shelled in NLDS Game 2 against the Pittsburgh Pirates but threw two scoreless innings out of the bullpen to earn the victory in Game 2 of the NLCS against the Dodgers.

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