Even at 1-1, Dodgers, Atlanta Braves turn to same lineups in Game 3 of NLDS.

Hyun-Jin Ryu

Game 3 starter Hyun-Jin Ryu went 14-8 with a 3.00 ERA in the regular season. (Sarah Reingewirtz/Staff photographer)

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez are in no mood to change things up — yet.

Both the Braves and the Dodgers will use identical lineups in Game 3 to those we saw in Games 1 and 2 in Atlanta. Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu will start for the Dodgers and right-hander Julio Teheran will start for the Braves, a matchup of two rookies making their 31st start of the season.

As for Game 4, well, some things seem TBA.

Ricky Nolasco is the Dodgers’ scheduled starter. He made the Dodgers’ playoff roster despite a 12.75 earned-run average in his final three starts of the season. Asked if Nolasco was still his starter Monday if the Dodgers lost today, Mattingly said “right now, Ricky’s the guy.”

That caveat could be an important one. Clayton Kershaw, who threw seven strong innings in Game 1 on Thursday, threw a bullpen session Saturday and appears ready to go in case Mattingly has a change of heart.

Here are both teams’ lineups for Game 3:
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Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez on Dodgers shortstop, former Marlin Hanley Ramirez.

Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez played for Fredit Gonzalez in Miami from 2007 until Gonzalez was fired in June 2010. (Associated Press photo)


Was Hanley Ramirez responsible for Fredi Gonzalez getting fired as the Florida Marlins’ manager in June 2010?

That was a legitimate question at the time and Ramirez, the Dodgers’ shortstop, quickly denied the notion.

Here’s what the Palm Beach Post wrote at the time:

Hanley Ramirez said Sunday he is upset for being named as a reason for Fredi Gonzalez’s firing.

“Everybody will miss him,” he said. “But at the same time, you’ve got to forget and move forward. A lot of people put it on me. I don’t know why. It had nothing to do with me. Things that should have happened, happened. That’s it.”

Ramirez said his relationship with Gonzalez improved after Ramirez was benched last month for not hustling after a ball he inadvertently kicked down the left field line. Ramirez then criticized the manager and his teammates after learning he was not in the lineup the next day.

“I think, yeah,” he said when asked if there was more of an understanding between the two after the incident.

“There was more respect for each other. It was great. I told him we should have explained ourselves before that.”

Friday, Gonzalez was asked if Ramirez is still the same player he remembers managing in Florida.
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If it ain’t broke: Dodgers, Atlanta Braves using same lineups in Game 2.

Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke has allowed seven earned runs in 11 innings — a 5.73 ERA — in two career starts at Turner Field. (Staff photo)

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez aren’t making any changes to their lineups for Game 2 less than 24 hours after the Dodgers beat the Braves 6-1 in Game 1.

Of the Dodgers’ starters, only Juan Uribe doesn’t have a hit in his career against Braves left-hander Mike Minor (0-for-5). Collectively, the other seven are batting .333 against Minor, led by A.J. Ellis (4-for-10, home run), Adrian Gonzalez (3-for-9, home run) and Carl Crawford (1-for-2, double, walk).

Conversely, the Braves are no stranger to success against Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke. Only Evan Gattis (zero career meetings) and Andrelton Simmons (0-for-3) have never gotten a hit off Greinke; Justin Upton (6-for-14, two home runs) and Brian McCann (2-for-6, home run) are batting second and fifth again today. Also lurking on the Atlanta bench: Gerald Laird (6-for-20 career against Greinke) and Jordan Schafer (5-for-11, triple).

The complete lineups for both teams:
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Skip Schumaker in center field, Yasiel Puig bats fifth, in Dodgers’ Game 1 lineup.

Ryan Braun

Skip Schumaker is 4 for 9 with a double in his career against Kris Medlen. (Getty Images)

Skip Schumaker will start in center field and bat seventh, as Andre Ethier will be relegated to the bench, for Game 1 of the Dodgers’ National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly will load up the middle of the lineup with power bats: Hanley Ramirez is hitting third, Adrian Gonzalez fourth and Yasiel Puig fifth, with Carl Crawford leading off for the first time since Sept. 8.

Puig has batted fifth only once, an Aug. 25 game against the Boston Red Sox. He finished 0-for-3.

There were fewer surprises in the Braves’ lineup, which has had little success against Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw in the past.

Four Braves positional starters have career at-bats against Kershaw: Justin Upton, Chris Johnson, Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward. They’re a combined 5 for 47 (.106) with 17 strikeouts; Heyward has struck out in all four plate appearances against Kershaw.

Only Mark Ellis hasn’t faced Atlanta starter Kris Medlen among Dodgers position players. A.J. Ellis (1-for-1), Hanley Ramirez (5-for-9), Skip Schumaker (4-for-9) and Yasiel Puig (1-for-3) are a combined 11-for-22 in their careers against Medlen. Adrian Gonzalez (0-for-8), Juan Uribe (0-for-7) and Carl Crawford (0-for-3) are still looking for their first career hit against the right-hander.

The full lineups for both teams:
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Daily Distractions: National League Division Series Game 3 start times announced.

Dodgers workout

The Dodgers work out Wednesday at Turner Field. (Sarah Reingewirtz/Staff photographer)


The Dodgers will host the Atlanta Braves at 5:07 p.m. Pacific Time Sunday in Game 3, as Major League Baseball updated the start times for both National League Division Series on Thursday. Game 4 start times haven’t been announced yet.

The Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals will play earlier in the day Sunday, with first pitch scheduled for 1:37 p.m. Pacific Time.

The league seems to be announcing start times roughly 72 hours in advance of each game. Start times for Game 1 today and Friday’s Game 2 were revealed on Monday. Odds are that the start time for Game 4 will be revealed some time tomorrow.

Onto the bullet points:
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Atlanta Braves set National League Division Series roster.

Freddy Garcia

Freddy Garcia made three starts for the Atlanta Braves, pitching well enough to earn a spot on the Braves’ postseason roster. (Getty Images)

The Atlanta Braves announced their roster for the National League Division Series today.

Notably, Dan Uggla is not on the roster. Uggla played 136 games this season, is third on the team with 22 home runs and is owed $13 million this season, making him the highest-paid player on the team. Uggla also batted .179, tied for the lowest average by a major-league regular with Rob Deer, who batted .179 in 1991. Uggla’s defense at second base is among the worst in the league.

Elliot Johnson figures to start at second base tomorrow. Evan Gattis, listed as a catcher below, figures to start in left field.

Another noticeable absence is Paul Maholm, who started 26 games in the regular season. The left-hander went 10-11 with a 4.41 ERA, including a 4.63 ERA (and .312 opponents’ batting average) in four September starts.

Instead, 36-year-old right-hander Freddy Garcia will start Game 4 behind Kris Medlen, Mike Minor and Julio Teheran. Garcia is on his third team this year, having been released in spring training by the Padres and bought out by the Baltimore Orioles after going 3-5 with a 5.77 ERA. Garcia turned it around in Atlanta, going 1-2 with a 1.65 ERA in six games (three starts).

The complete roster:
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Daily Distractions: Rosters for Atlanta Braves, Dodgers becoming more notable for their expensive absences.

Dodgers workout

The healthy portion of the Dodgers’ roster worked out at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday. (David Crane/Staff photographer)


In a span of days, the Dodgers-Braves series has become more noteworthy for who won’t be on the field than who will.

The Atlanta Braves announced their roster Wednesday morning, and second baseman Dan Uggla will not be on it. Nor should he be; Uggla is hitting .179 — the lowest full-season average for a qualifying hitter since Rob Deer in 1991 (also .179). Elliot Johnson has gotten more time at second base in September and hit a more respectable .261. Johnson is also the better fielding second baseman, by a little.

The Braves also chose 36-year-old right-hander Freddy Garcia over left-hander Paul Maholm. That makes Garcia look like the favorite to start a possible Game 4 in Los Angeles on Monday.

Maholm is making $4.25 million this year. Uggla is making $13 million. And those expenses hardly compare to the Dodgers’ bench.

Andre Ethier ($13.5 million) might not be available for the Division Series because of his bum left ankle. Matt Kemp ($20 million) has already been ruled out. Forget about injured pitchers Chad Billingsley ($11 million) and Josh Beckett ($15.75 million).

There are still some tough decisions for the Dodgers to make, though not as expensive. Their roster must be submitted to the league by 7 a.m. Pacific Time tomorrow. Rosters are submitted to MLB’s baseball operations department on a form that the league prepares, and are usually scanned back to the Commissioner’s Office.

It’s an important piece of paper, but the missing names might be more interesting.

Some bullet points for an Oct. 2 (Happy Birthday mom!):
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Daily Distractions: Sizing up the umpires for the Dodgers-Atlanta Braves National League Division Series.

Marvin Hudson

Umpire Marvin Hudson (center) and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly (right) have met before. (Getty Images)

Major League Baseball assigned John Hirschbeck’s crew to the Dodgers-Atlanta Braves National League Division series and is comprised of Laz Diaz, Marvin Hudson, Bill Miller, regular season crew chief Tim Welke and Hunter Wendelstedt.

It’s inherent to the circumstances that these supposed to be some of the best umpires in MLB. If not, they would be relaxing at home while another crew umpired the series. That said, it’s easier to cherry-pick their flaws than their successes. This also makes for better blog reading.

Welke is responsible for one of the worst safe/out calls against the Dodgers you’ll ever see.

Wendelstedt’s strike zone has drawn heavy criticism in the past. Decide for yourself: The blog Strike Zone Maps allows you to compare umpires’ strike zones on certain days (To me, Wendlestedt’s appears to be more consistent, and less forgiving for pitches outside the strike zone, than many.) Baseball Heat Maps confirms that Wendlestedt’s strike zone doesn’t reward too many balls out of the rulebook-defined strike zone.

Miller ejected Dodgers manager Don Mattingly on Aug. 1, one of his three ejections in 2013 and one that happened so quickly I didn’t realize it at the time. (For comparison’s sake, Chad Fairchild led MLB umpires with eight.) Welke, Wendlestedt and Hudson have each ejected four players or managers this season.

These are all good talking points for a slow news day, but we might not hear their names again once the games begin — if they’re doing their jobs.

Some bullet points for a Botswanan Independence Day:
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Daily Distractions: Uptonia!

Kate Upton

A YouTube screenshot of Kate Upton’s new Super Bowl ad. Go Niners.

Today’s distractions are a bit late; I was distracted by news that Kate Upton got traded …

Atlanta became a baseball Uptonia on Thursday, when the Braves acquired Justin Upton from the Diamondbacks. The seven-player trade sends Randall Delgado, Martin Prado and minor-leaguers Zeke Spruill, Nick Ahmed and Brandon Drury to Arizona. Third baseman Chris Johnson, who hit a grand slam against the Dodgers in his first game as a Diamondback last year, also goes to Atlanta in the trade.

The Braves’ outfield of B.J. Upton, Justin Upton and Jason Heyward has already been hailed as baseball’s best, though I think Mike Trout, Peter Bourjos and Josh Hamilton will make a strong case this season.

I personally feel good for the younger Upton, who’s been the subject of trade rumors on and off for three years — particularly this off-season — without getting a lick of assurance from the Diamondbacks about his future. At least that’s how it seemed publicly.

For Arizona, the 2013 lineup begets more questions than hope. That’s a good thing for the Dodgers, and I’ll explore it in more depth in my next blog post.

The rest of today’s news, still waiting on that Dodgers cable deal …

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Postgame: Braves 8, Dodgers 2

The Braves beat the Dodgers 8-2 today to win the series 3-1. For a full recap and boxscore click here.

THE BARE ESSENTIALS:

Not a good day for the Dodgers. Eric Stults kept the game close in a spot start, but the bullpen couldn’t keep the team in the game. Manny Ramirez went 3-for-4 but the team went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

Javier Vasquez was really dealing for the Braves. His stuff looked great throughout, and he shut the Dodgers down to the tune of eight innings of one-run baseball. The Blue had only two extra-base hits in the game, doubles by Manny Ramirez and Orlando Hudson.

Matt Diaz homered in the second, but the Braves didn’t really put together any significant on offense until the ninth, where five hits and a walk, capped by a two-run single by Martin Prado, made the score 8-1.

ETC…ETC:

The Dodgers put together a brief rally in the ninth but Mark Loretta, starting for James Loney at first, flew out to end the game.

Stults, recalled earlier today to replace Tony Abreu on the active roster, certainly did what we asked. He pitched five innings, giving up three runs while on just two days’ rest after a Triple-A start Thursday.

There’s definitely cause to be worried about Ramon Troncoso. Since pitching back-to-back-to-back games July 18-20, his ERA has been a not-so-hot 13.50 in six innings of work. He’s given up 15 hits and struck out just four in that time and was shelled in today’s ninth inning.

Don’t look now, but both the Giants and Rockies are tied for the NL Wild Card lead 61-50 and are just 5.5 games back of the Dodgers in the West. The Rockies are a simply incredible 43-22 since Jim Tracy took over as manager on May 29.

ON DECK:

Hiroki Kuroda (4-5, 4.44) and Jonathan Sanchez (5-9, 4.49 and of no-hitter fame) match up in the first game of a crucial three-game set in San Francisco. The Dodgers won’t have to face Matt Cain but Tim Lincecum is set to take the ball Wednesday.