Dodgers manager Don Mattingly indicated earlier today that he could skip Ricky Nolasco and go with Zack Greinke on short rest if his team was facing elimination tomorrow, but it sounds like the idea isn’t dead even after Monday’s Game 3 victory over the Cardinals.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Nolasco is currently scheduled to start Game 4 and oppose Lance Lynn. However, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times notes that Mattingly continues to say that’s the plan “right now,” which could be a sign that things are subject to change. You see, Mattingly used the same “right now” description before he skipped Nolasco in favor of using Clayton Kershaw on short rest in Game 4 of the NLDS against the Braves last week. Don’t be surprised if we see another last-minute change.
Nolasco posted a 3.70 ERA and 165/46 K/BB ratio over 199 1/3 innings during the regular season, but struggled to the tune of a 6.66 ERA over his final six outings. He hasn’t pitched since a relief appearance on September 29.
Blue Jays starter Matt Shoemaker has been diagnosed with a left knee sprain following his early departure from Saturday’s game. He’s scheduled to undergo an MRI on Sunday, after which the club will be able to determine the extent of his injury and draw up a more definite timeline for his return to the mound.
The right-hander held the A’s scoreless through three innings of three-hit, one-strikeout ball on Saturday. In the bottom of the third, with two outs and Matt Chapman on first, Shoemaker helped complete an inning-ending putout after Chapman tried to steal second. He tagged Chapman between first and second base, but appeared to twist his leg in the process and immediately started limping away.
Shoemaker was helped off the field after the play and was swiftly replaced by righty Sam Gaviglio in the bottom of the fourth. This is the first serious injury the 32-year-old has sustained since he underwent forearm surgery and missed nearly all of his 2018 campaign with the Angels. While he’s not expected to be sidelined for quite as long this time around, it’s still a concerning setback for the Blue Jays’ no. 2 starter, who currently boasts a sterling 1.57 ERA, 2.8 BB/9, and 7.5 SO/9 through his first 28 2/3 innings of 2019.
The Blue Jays will undoubtedly feel the lack of Shoemaker’s presence over the next few days, but they managed deliver a blowout win on Saturday even without his help. Behind six innings of one-run ball from Gaviglio and Elvis Luciano, the offense mustered up 10 runs — the most they’ve collected in a single game all season — and kept the A’s hardest hits at bay with impressive catches from Billy McKinney and Freddy Galvis.