NLCS Game 4 preview: In search of offense

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Both Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier are back in the Dodgers' lineup for Game 4.

LOS ANGELES -- After three games of the National League Championship Series, there have been a total of nine runs scored. By both teams, combined. But if there was a game to bounce out of the offensive doldrums, it's Ricky Nolasco for the Dodgers vs. Lance Lynn and the Cardinals in Game 4 on Tuesday night.

Nolasco gets the call on Tuesday night, instead of Zack Greinke on short rest. Mattingly said he flip-flopped many times on the decision before ultimately deciding during Monday's Game 3.

"Well, the way it went down more than anything was Zack and Clayton both wanting to pitch and offering to pitch on three days," Mattingly said. "We said we'd wait until after the game.  As the game went on, I just told Rick I didn't feel good about it, and we're going everybody's staying where they're at.

"I really think it tells you a lot about Zack and about Clayton that they both come and want to do it.  It's a lot like Hanley and Adrian and Andre.  They want to play.  These guys want to win.  So it tells you about where their heads are, and we appreciate that part of it.  But we just didn't feel like at this point it was the right thing."

Mattingly said Nolasco, who last started on Sept. 25, would have started Game 4 even if the Dodgers were down 3-0 in the series. Nolasco allowed 19 runs in 12 innings over his last three starts.

"Well, to be really honest, we've put Ricky in‑‑ it's not a great spot for Ricky.  He hasn't pitched in a while," Mattingly said. "I think we didn't see a whole lot of differences in Ricky.  He had some teams in there that he didn't match up well with and had to pitch against traditionally.  It seemed that he got roughed up a couple times really good, and it wasn't the same.

"Then we see him bounce back and pitch a little bit better.  Ricky's competitive, and he's worked hard in here to try to stay sharp.  We'll just be keeping an eye on him and see where he's at and try to manage the game as it tells us what to do."

Edinson Volquez, who like Nolasco hasn't pitched since the regular season outside of a simulated game on Oct. 9 and various bullpen side sessions, will be available in long relief.

Lynn beat the Dodgers on May 24 with nine strikeouts in six scoreless innings, but over his next 19 starts was 6-9 with a 5.12 ERA. A fine finish in September - four runs allowed and a 1.09 ERA in four starts - earned him a Game 2 start in the NLDS, but he took the loss allowing seven runs to the Pirates.

Lynn pitched two scoreless innings in relief to earn the win in Game 1, giving him eight scoreless innings against the Dodgers this season. On Tuesday night he's trying to become just the fifth pitcher since the team moved to Los Angeles to beat the Dodgers twice in one series, joining Mudcat Grant (1965 World Series), Mike Torrez (1977 World Series), Steve Carlton (1983 NLCS) and Cole Hamels (2008 NLCS).

For Lynn to get that second win, he'll have to beat a Dodgers offense that has scored just five runs and hit just .213/.267/.306 in three games against the Cardinals. St. Louis has been even worse, hitting .134/.190/.175 with four runs scored.

"We have two great offenses here that haven't done anything yet, so there could be a couple good games here offensively," Lynn said Monday.  "But as a starting pitcher, you don't want to see it."

Game 4 info

Time: 5:07 p.m.

TV: TBS

MLB Gameday

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join True Blue LA

You must be a member of True Blue LA to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at True Blue LA. You should read them.

Join True Blue LA

You must be a member of True Blue LA to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at True Blue LA. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker