“ST. LOUIS >> Adrian Gonzalez got the best revenge that baseball allows.”
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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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.”
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:
— Beth Harris (@bethharrisap) October 15, 2013
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.”