Updated on October 7, 2013 at 12:30 p.m.: The Los Angeles Dodgers have announced Clayton Kershaw, not Ricky Nolasco, will start game 4. It will mark the first time in Kershaw’s career he will be pitching on only three days rest.
The Braves finished first with a 3.18 team ERA and the Dodgers were second with a 3.25 team ERA.
Those stats went to the wayside as the Dodgers cruised to a 13-6 victory in a pivotal game 3 to take a 2-1 lead in the National League Division Series.
The 13 runs tied a Dodgers franchise postseason record that was set in the 1956 World Series. Somewhat fittingly, the 13 run was driven in by a Yasiel Puig single.
The offensive charge was led by Hanley Ramirez, who is now hitting a blistering .538 in three NLDS games. Five of Ramirez’s seven hits have been for extra bases and he has six RBIs.
With six extra-base hits, Ramirez has tied Carlos Beltran (2004) and Jim Edmonds (2000) for most extra-base hits in a Division Series.
After falling behind 2-0 in the first inning, the Dodgers battled back to take a 4-2 lead in the second inning behind a Carl Crawford three-run home run.
The Braves tied the game in the third inning and the Dodgers responded in the bottom half to take a 6-4 lead into the fourth inning. After the Dodgers scored four more runs in the fifth inning, the route was on.
Hyun-Jin Ryu managed to pitch only three innings in his MLB postseason debut. His inability to pitch deep into the game forced manager Don Mattingly to get creative with his bullpen.
Chris Capuano filled in admirably for Ryu, pitching three innings without allowing a hit and striking out three Brave batters. His gutty performance earned him his first career postseason win.
As a result of Ryu’s short stint, the availability of Capuano and Paco Rodriguez may be in question for game 4.
No matter, the Dodgers are now one win away from advancing to the NLCS and a victory on Monday is key in more ways than one.
Should the Braves push the Dodgers to a game 5, it would be held in Atlanta. Playing on the road in an elimination game is best avoided.
In a game 5 situation, Clayton Kershaw would presumably get the start. That would likely mean he wouldn’t be available until game 3 of the NLCS, should the Dodgers advance.
The Dodgers will place the ball in Ricky Nolasco’s hands on Monday and hope he will fare better than Ryu did.
NLDS schedule and probables
Game 4: Monday, October 7, Dodger Stadium: Ricky Nolasco (13-11, 3.70) vs. Freddy Garcia (4-7, 4.37), 6:30 p.m. PDT.
*Game 5: Wednesday, October 9, Turner Field: 5:30 p.m. PDT.