Ryu was a virtual lock to start Sunday’s Game 3 after he went 14-8 with a 3.00 ERA in 30 starts, finishing second only to Clayton Kershaw on the team in starts and innings pitched (192). The left-hander faced Altanta twice during the regular season and allowed three runs, striking out 11 batters in 12 ⅔ innings.
“He’s got one season of United States Major League Baseball under his belt, but he doesn’t come here without a great resume of postseason or competitive competition,” Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said of Ryu. “The Korea/Japan tournament [2006 and 2010 Asian Games] is huge.”
Nolasco’s status for Game 4 was far less certain. The right-hander had a 12.75 earned-run average over his final three starts of the season, lasting a total of 12 innings.
“These guys have pitched the best,” Mattingly said. “Zack, I know his record is better at home, but we feel he can win anywhere. Hyun-Jin’s thrown well for the most part all year long. Ricky’s throwing the ball good for us. I guess that could be subject to change. If we had to do something in a game early … we would have to be flexible with Ricky, what we would do, and have him ready.”
Nolasco pitched an inning of relief Sept. 29 and his last start was Sept. 25 in San Francisco. He allowed six runs in 5 ⅔ innings in that game.
“Ricky, we look at the whole body of work, and it’s been pretty good,” Mattingly said. “This is who he’s been for us since we acquired him. He was a little bit rougher at the end, but I think we knew who he was when we acquired him. We know what he’s capable of. A couple of those in there, I feel like it was a little skewed because it was San Francisco twice — two really bad matchups for him that we didn’t try to adjust, or try to manipulate because of where we were in the standings. We’re confident with Ricky and what he can do.”
If Nolasco does pitch out of the bullpen in Games 1, 2 or 3, speculation might turn to Edinson Volquez or Kershaw starting Game 4.
Volquez limited hitters to a .209 batting average over his final four starts with the Dodgers, despite a 3.52 ERA and an 0-2 record. Kershaw would be required him to pitch on three days’ rest in Game 4, something he hasn’t done all season. But he’s arguably the best pitcher in the playoffs if not all of baseball, having led the major leagues in earned-run average (1.83) for the third straight season.
“We haven’t talked about that. Right now we’re at Ricky,” Mattingly said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen in the season. I don’t think we’ve ever talked about (Kershaw) pitching on short rest.”
Addressing the media this afternoon at Turner Field, Mattingly said that he has decided on his roster for the Division Series, but was waiting to announce it publicly until he had informed the team.