Hanley Ramirez scratched from Dodgers’ lineup for Game 6 of the NLCS.

Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez was diagnosed with a hairline fracture in his 8th rib after Game 1 of the NLCS. (Associated Press photo)


Hanley Ramirez is not in the Dodgers’ starting lineup for Game 6 of the National League Championship Series on Friday in St. Louis.

Ramirez has been attempting to play with a hairline fracture in his left ribcage since he was hit by a pitch there in the first inning of Game 1 of the series. Nick Punto will play shortstop and bat eighth, with Yasiel Puig moving from sixth to fourth in the Dodgers’ lineup.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is expected to update Ramirez’s condition shortly.

For the Cardinals, Shane Robinson is taking Jon Jay’s place in center field. Robinson bats right-handed, which Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said was the critical difference against a left-handed pitcher, Clayton Kershaw.

“The thought process is to try to get more offense if we can,” Matheny said. “There’s no secret how Kershaw has done against left-handers. I know (Jay) would have done well today.

“Especially Shane, going off some confidence against a big pinch hit, and we know he plays good defense.”

Here are both teams’ lineups for the 5:30 p.m. game:
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Some key stats for Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.

Joe Kelly

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Joe Kelly limited the Dodgers to two runs in six innings in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. (Associated Press photo)


Since it caught a few eyes with yesterday’s starting pitcher, I’m going to rip the Joe Kelly-versus-the-Dodgers statistics straight off baseball-reference.com. Check it out:

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Why have the Dodgers shortened their bench in the playoffs?

Through their first seven postseason games, the Dodgers have given at-bats to three position players off their bench: Nick Punto, Skip Schumaker and Michael Young — no Tim Federowicz, Scott Van Slyke or Dee Gordon.

Why the short bench?

“It depends on how the game goes,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “These games have been telling us what to do. When your starting pitching is going deep every day, you don’t use pinch-hitters. Zack went 8, right? Kersh was 7 full. Ryu — when guys are going deep you don’t use pinch-hitters.”

The script changed on Tuesday. Dodgers starter Ricky Nolasco was removed after four innings. Schumaker pinch-hit for the pitcher’s spot, then was removed from the game, so we could see more of the Dodgers’ bench tonight.

Some pregame numbers, lineups, and injury updates for Game 4 of the National League Championship Series.

Are the numbers on Ricky Nolasco‘s side tonight? It depends on what numbers you like.

In his last three starts against the St. Louis Cardinals, the right-hander is 3–0 with a 0.36 ERA against the Cardinals.

And yet, here are his numbers (courtesy of baseball-reference.com) against current Cardinals hitters:

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA ▾ OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP GDP missG
Jon Jay 15 13 7 1 0 0 2 0 1 .538 .571 .615 1.187 1 0 0 1 0
David Freese 12 12 6 1 0 0 1 0 3 .500 .500 .583 1.083 0 0 0 0 1
Matt Holliday 27 26 12 3 1 2 7 1 2 .462 .481 .885 1.366 0 0 0 0 2
Carlos Beltran 53 47 16 0 0 1 3 6 11 .340 .415 .404 .819 0 0 1 0 0
Daniel Descalso 14 13 4 1 0 0 0 1 2 .308 .357 .385 .742 0 0 0 0 0
Yadier Molina 12 11 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 .273 .333 .273 .606 0 0 0 1 0
Matt Carpenter 6 5 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 .200 .333 .200 .533 0 0 0 0 0
Tony Cruz 10 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Matt Adams 5 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Adam Wainwright 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 1 0 0 0 0
Total 157 144 49 6 1 3 14 9 26 .340 .387 .458 .845 2 0 1 2 3

One more stat on Nolasco: He’ll be starting on 20 days’ rest. In his career, Nolasco is 9-8 with a 4.79 ERA when pitching on six or more days’ rest; he was 1-2 with a 5.63 ERA in such situations in 2013.
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How (and when) Ricky Nolasco became the Dodgers’ Game 4 starter.

Ricky Nolasco

Ricky Nolasco will start Game 4 of the National League Division series for the Dodgers. (Associated Press photo)

Ricky Nolasco is starting Game 4 of the National League Championship Series for the Dodgers, just like everyone knew all along.

Yeah, right.

Not even manager Don Mattingly was sold on Nolasco at this time yesterday.

“We met yesterday,” he said. “I wasn’t feeling great about it. I wasn’t feeling 100 percent about it. It was on my mind all day yesterday, all the time here at the ballpark yesterday early on. It was on my mind: ‘What was the right thing to do?’ After we met, it got a chance to keep sinking in. At the beginning it wasn’t feeling great. About the third inning I said to Rick ‘I’m going with Ricky tomorrow.’ That was it.”
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Adrian Gonzalez, Yasiel Puig cause a minor stir with their celebrations.

Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig raises his arms to celebrate his triple off the right-field wall in the fourth inning of Game 3 of the National League Championship Series on Monday. (Associated Press photo)

Ah, the age of Twitter.

Monday night, the days of reporters running from one clubhouse to the other for reaction to controversy were officially laid to rest. It happened shortly before 9 p.m. Pacific Time, when a reporter in the Dodgers’ interview room noticed a tweet from a reporter in the St. Louis Cardinals’ clubhouse. Probably this tweet:


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Will Ricky Nolasco or Zack Greinke start Game 4 of NLCS? Check back after Game 3.

Ricky Nolasco

Ricky Nolasco went 0-2 with a 12.75 ERA in his final three regular-season starts. (Associated Press photo)

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly conceded Monday that the outcome of Game 3 tonight against the St. Louis Cardinals will influence his choice of a starting pitcher for Game 4.

Ricky Nolasco, the scheduled starter, said he hasn’t been told that anyone is taking place. But Mattingly’s concession was the first time the manager has publicly acknowledged the possibility of Game 1 starter Zack Greinke pitching on three days’ rest.

“Ricky is ready to go,” Mattingly said. “I’ll probably be able to tell you a lot more after the game. I would say, yes, today’s results may have something to do — but like I said, Ricky is ready to go right now.”
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After much ado about something, Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier join Dodgers’ Game 3 lineup.

Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez, right with Yasiel Puig, batted .500 (8 for 16) in the National League Division Series. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff photographer)

Hanley Ramirez (hairline rib fracture) and Andre Ethier (soreness in lower left leg) passed the test.

After Dodgers manager Don Mattingly declared that both players would be game-time decisions for Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, Ramirez and Ethier showed enough in pregame drills to earn a spot in the starting lineup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Ethier could be a particularly important weapon today against Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright. Only five Dodgers have as many as 10 career plate appearances against the right-hander, and Ethier leads them all in batting average (.303), on-base percentage (.361) and slugging percentage (.667). He’s batting fifth.

Ramirez is 5 for 24 (.208) with no extra-base hits in his career against Wainwright, and went 0 for 6 in Game 1 against the Cardinals. He was the Dodgers’ best hitter in the National League Division Series against the Braves, batting .500 (8 for 16) with four doubles, a triple and a home run. He’s batting third.

Yasiel Puig is batting sixth, his lowest position in a starting lineup since he joined the Dodgers in June. Puig has struck out six times in 10 at-bats in the NLCS without collecting a hit. Wainwright has been tough on right-handers throughout his career; this season alone right-handers have struck out 111 times in 457 at-bats against Wainwright and walked only 10 times.

Puig went 1 for 3 with a double and two strikeouts in his only game against Wainwright this season.

For the Cardinals, Matt Adams moves from the cleanup spot to number six, where he’s been against left-handers Francisco Liriano and Clayton Kershaw in these playoffs. Yadier Molina beats fourth.

Here are the lineups for both teams:
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Andre Ethier joins Hanley Ramirez as game-time decision for Game 3 of NLCS. Update.

Andre Ethier

Andre Ethier was limping after chasing fly balls in the Dodger Stadium outfield prior to Game 3 of the National League Championship Series on Monday. (John McCoy/Staff photographer)

Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier will be a game-time decision for Game 3 of the National League Championship Series after missing Game 2 with an injury to his lower left leg.

He hit several line drives in batting practice and a couple home runs. Covering the full range of center field at Dodger Stadium was a different matter.

Ethier’s range was limited, as he came up limping on a few particularly long runs to the gap. He chose not to jump for a ball that barely cleared the wall in right-center field. Ethier did not limp at any point while attempting to run the bases during batting practice, but he did not approach full speed.

Ethier played all 13 innings of Game 1 in center field, which Dodgers manager Don Mattingly called a “worst-case scenario” in light of the injury. Skip Schumaker was the Dodgers’ center fielder in Game 2 on Saturday, a 1-0 loss, and figures to start today if Ethier can’t.

“We’ll have to see him get out on the field, see what he can do, and we’ll kind of go from there,” Mattingly said during his afternoon media session prior to BP. “Another game-time (decision) or at least after BP or during BP at some point, we’re going to be able to figure out if he’s going to go or not.”

Update (3 p.m.): Ethier said he can play, but wasn’t sure if he would be in the lineup.

“I’m going to go in and talk to Donnie,” he said after batting practice.

Asked how he felt compared to Game 1 of the NLCS, Ethier said, “about the same. I don’t think quite as physically sharp but definitely able to go out there and play and get the job done.”

Hanley Ramirez has a hairline fracture of his eighth rib, will be game-time decision for NLCS Game 3. Update.

Hanley RamirezA CT scan on Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez revealed a hairline fracture of his eighth rib. Ramirez will be a game-time decision today, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.

“It’s just going to be a matter if he can swing the bat or not, and that’s what we’re kind of trying to get him loose now. He’ll try to swing here … I think around 2 o’clock they were talking about, and we’ll have to make a decision from there.”

Update: Ramirez said prior to the game that he will play, wearing protective gear “like a running back.”

“I owe too much to this team and this city” not to play, he added.
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