On eve of series against Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals’ rotation takes a double hit.

Michael Wacha

Pitcher Michael Wacha, the MVP of the 2013 National League Championship Series against the Dodgers, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday by the St. Louis Cardinals. (Getty Images)

The St. Louis Cardinals will be missing 40 percent of their starting rotation when they visit Dodger Stadium this week.

The Cardinals announced Sunday that right-handed pitcher Michael Wacha and left-hander Jaime Garcia have been placed on the 15-day disabled list. Garcia is 3-1 with a 4.12 earned-run average in seven starts this season. Wacha, named the most valuable player of last year’s National League Championship Series after beating the Dodgers twice, is 5-5 with a 2.79 ERA. Both pitchers have “shoulder troubles,” according to the Cardinals’ website.

The Dodgers host the Cardinals in a four-game series Thursday through Sunday. It’s the first meeting between the teams since a hotly contested NLCS that began with Hanley Ramirez being hit in the ribs by a pitch from Cardinals hurler Joe Kelly. Kelly is also on the disabled list.

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:

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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