Dodgers manager Don Mattingly announced that Zack Greinke will start Game 1 of the NLCS against the Cardinals and Clayton Kershaw will take the mound in Game 2 after starting on short rest for the first time in his career to finish off the NLDS.
That gives Kershaw enough time to make his start on full rest Saturday and obviously having Greinke as your series-opening alternative isn’t exactly a bad spot to be in anyway. Greinke went 15-4 with a 2.63 ERA in 28 starts during the regular season and tossed six innings of two-run ball versus the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS.
It sounds like Mattingly will stick with Hyun-Jin Ryu in Game 3 despite an awful start Sunday against Atlanta that had people wondering if the rookie left-hander was healthy. Game 3 of the NLCS isn’t until Monday, giving Ryu a week off to rest up.
And then in Game 4 the Dodgers will get to decide whether or not to bump Ricky Nolasco again.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.
McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).
McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.