LOS ANGELES – When the Dodgers took the field for a workout late Wednesday afternoon, they knew almost nothing about their immediate future in the upcoming National League Championship Series.
Except this: Zack Greinke will start Game 1 and Clayton Kershaw Game 2.
Manager Don Mattingly, as he did before his team’s first-round playoff series against the Atlanta Braves, gave nothing else away regarding his roster. But that was primarily because the Dodgers didn’t know whether their opponent would be the St. Louis Cardinals or the Pittsburgh Pirates.
As it turned out, their destination was St. Louis, where they begin the NLCS on Friday. Games 3, 4 and, if necessary, 5 will be played at Dodger Stadium starting Monday.
Wednesday’s deciding NLDS game between the Cardinals and Pirates was being shown on both large video boards at Dodger Stadium, but most players seemed focused on getting in their work before they settled in to watch the final few innings.
The Dodgers won’t finalize their 25-man roster until just before Game 1 on Friday.
“Obviously we’ve got to wait to see who we’re going to play, looking at matchups and things like that, but different scenarios also as we go forward,” Mattingly said earlier Wednesday before the Cardinals beat the Pirates 6-1.
These were some of the topics Mattingly discussed:
Hyun-Jin Ryu: He’s still the Dodgers’ likely Game 3 starter on Monday, despite his rough start against the Atlanta Braves last Sunday in which he gave up four runs in three innings.
There were rumors the left-hander might not be fit, but both he and the team insisted he was fine after the Dodgers’ 13-6 win.
“Everything that he’s told us is that he’s healthy and it had nothing to do with what happened the other day,” Mattingly said. “I felt like he was a little nervous the other day, honestly. He did some uncharacteristic things that you don’t really see him do.
“I look forward to seeing him pitch. I think he’s going to bounce back.”
The Cardinals struggled against left-handers during the regular season, batting just .238 as a team, so the Dodgers are hopeful Ryu will recover from his previous start.
Andre Ethier: His health could affect a number of spots on the roster. If he’s able to run the bases, it’s possible he could start in center field at some point in the NLCS. If he does, it would mean speedster Dee Gordon wouldn’t be needed.
Ethier maintained the same stance he took before the Dodgers played the Braves, saying, “We tested it and we’ll see what we have tomorrow.”
Mattingly was more optimistic that Ethier would be able to contribute more than just as a pinch-hitter.
“We feel pretty good that he’s definitely going to do more than he was able to do the last series,” Mattingly said. “We feel like there’s more scenarios that Andre’s going to be involved in, and that’s part of our decision-making process. How much can he do? How much can we press him to do?”
Ricky Nolasco: The right-hander, who was passed over in favor of Kershaw on Monday, threw in batting practice and remains a possible starter in the series. But Mattingly has made no decision other than to say the July trade acquistion is being considered.
The Dodgers will need a fourth starter in the best-of-7 series, so it could be Nolasco or left-hander Chris Capuano, who pitched three scoreless innings in relief of Ryu in Game 3 vs. Atlanta.
Park for free: The Dodgers had too many cars and not enough parking spaces on Monday night, so they’re offering to allow fans who carpool with four or more people in a car to park for free during the remainder of the postseason.
The Dodgers said several hundred cars had to be directed to sites outside of Dodger Stadium, including some fans who had parking passes.
Lots and turnstiles will open three hours before every home game, the team said.