Should Ricky Nolasco Have Been Hit For In the Second Inning?

In the bottom of the second inning in yesterday’s Game 4, the Dodgers loaded the bases with two outs. Andre Ethier had singled, and Yasiel Puig & A.J. Ellis had each drawn walks, so there were three men on for pitcher Ricky Nolasco. At the time, I was watching the game at the MLB Fan Cave with some friends, and once I realized that it was Nolasco coming to the plate, I half-jokingly suggested that Don Mattingly should take his opportunities where he could find them, and pinch-hit for Nolasco despite the fact that his starter had retired six of the seven Cardinals he’d faced and generally was calming all of our questions about him.

I never really expected Mattingly to do it, and he didn’t. Nolasco struck out, and we moved on. I’m thinking about that this morning because I see now that it was the highest-leverage play of the game

nolasco_lev_nlcs_game4

…and so I’m thinking: Should Mattingly have tried to make some noise in that situation? In the regular season, it’s not even a question, because you don’t pull your starter after two innings and ruin your bullpen for weeks. But in the playoffs, when you’re down 2-1 and having all sorts of trouble getting runs on the board, and you have your fourth starter who hasn’t gone in weeks, and the possibility of Clayton Kershaw being available for an inning or two or three to at least make it a reasonable bullpen game after that, well, you wonder if it should have been considered. (Yet another situation where Chris Capuano might have been useful rather than Carlos Marmol, but I digress.)

It probably wouldn’t have mattered, really, because Mattingly would have likely used Skip Schumaker, who grounded into a double play in a very similar situation in the fourth. And you certainly can’t bag on Mattingly for the fact that Nolasco fell apart in the third, because he had looked good in the first two innings, though it’s now fun to think about what might have happened had someone else been on the mound. But with some benefit — but not entirely, as I said above — of hindsight, you start to realize that the Dodgers are about to lose this NLCS because they simply can’t generate offense, and the opportunity to make something happen with the bases loaded is arguably more valuable than another inning or two out of Nolasco.

Like I said, I never really expected such a move, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Mattingly never even considered it. But I know I was thinking it at the time, and I wonder what the outcome might have been.

788 comments
markwarschauer
markwarschauer

This is a really interesting question (about pinch hitting for Nolasco in the 2nd).  That was my very strong opinion at that time.  You may recall that I'm the guy who recommend that Kershaw *start* game four, to much derision from everybody else.  However, even if you disagree with that, Mike P. makes an excellent point that Kershaw could have easily gone 2-3 innings without setting back his ability to pitch in game 6, especially because his previous outing just went 72 pitches. And, as it turned out, Nolasco just went four innings anyway.

Oh well, we'll never know how that would have turned out.  But it's the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that Mattingly never engages in.

P_F_P
P_F_P

Ugh. A large amount of livefyre poops will be pooped if we don't get a last-second threat.

capnsparrow
capnsparrow

I see Pedro Martinez is taking fashion advice from Craig Sager now

P_F_P
P_F_P

Last year we also had to win the last three games of the season while hoping that the Cardinals lost all three of theirs. I think you know where I'm going with this...DON'T FUCKING BUNT AT THE WRONG TIMES DON.

Baby Blue
Baby Blue

I've been absent for a while, with the getting married and what not. Been following on Twitter, but I haven't been able tpo game chat. Super excited to be able to today!

Purple Drank
Purple Drank

Dodgers are winless when Mike goes to the FanCave

#science

P_F_P
P_F_P

Possibly the last game of the season and we might not get a threat? Lame.

Nineteen84
Nineteen84

I guess we're a bunch of idiots, pre-game spent the first 10 minutes instructing Dodger fans to not wave towels when the Dodgers are on defense

ABSmileBunch
ABSmileBunch

hurry up and end conference call...I 'worked' from home for a reason today!

Noel D
Noel D

Hanley has either rebuilt or debunked his previous negative image

Noel D
Noel D

Midnight... I'm scared

BlueMarvin
BlueMarvin

@KMT59 Now... Skip makes young Dodger fans sob all by himself.

KMT59
KMT59

@Nineteen84 they did it yesterday and I started yelling at the fools...it got pasted on and they didn't do it again

Purple Drank
Purple Drank

I made the effort to roll off of my fucking keyboard, get to the mouse, scroll down, and read