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100713-DodgersThe Dodgers will look to eliminate the Braves without having to travel back to Atlanta Monday and will look to ride their newfound momentum to do so.

Last night the Dodgers scored 13 runs, the most the Braves have allowed all season by three runs, and did so on quite a grand stage which could foreshadow a little bit more.

But they still need to win one more game against a team that is now 40-42 on the road including postseason play.

Their first decision of the day was to throw Ricky Nolasco as the Game 4 starter instead of Clayton Kershaw, who could go in Game 5 if needed or in Game 1 of the NLCS should the Dodgers win today.

Game 4 – NLDS
Dodgers lead 2-1
Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers
6:37 p.m.
Dodger Stadium
Los Angeles, California
Forecast: Mostly Sunny, 72 degrees
Wind: 4 MPH, WSW
Radio: AM 570 or 710 AM (English), 1020 AM (Spanish)
Vin Scully and the Dodgers’ Radio Network reside at AM 570.

LA: Ricky Nolasco (13-11, 3.70; 8-3, 3.52 ERA with Dodgers)
ATL: Freddy Garcia (4-7, 4.37; 1-2, 1.65 with Braves)

Probable Starters:

Braves vs. Nolasco Dodgers vs. Garcia
C – Brian McCann 20-for-58 (.345) 8 HRs C – A.J. Ellis Never faced
1B – Freddie Freeman 6-for-25 (.240) 1 HR 1B – Adrian Gonzalez 4-for-16 (.250)
2B – Elliot Johnson Never faced 2B – Mark Ellis 4-for-16 (.250)
3B – Chris Johnson 4-for-12 (.333) 3B – Juan Uribe 1-for-8 (.125)
SS – Andrelton Simmons 1-for-3 (.333) SS – Hanley Ramirez 3-for-8 (.375) 1 HR
LF – Evan Gattis Never faced LF – Carl Crawford 7-for-26 (.269) 1 HR
CF – Jason Heyward 8-for-23 (.348) 1 HR CF – Skip Schumaker Never faced
RF – Justin Upton 3-for-14 (.214) RF – Yasiel Puig Never faced

Nolasco vs. Braves

Does Nolasco know the Braves or what? But they too know him, and the history is not good.

He is 6-10 with a 5.11 ERA in 24 appearances against Atlanta in his career. He saw them once this season while with the Marlins and did pitch well though, earning a win by pitching 7.0 innings and allowing two runs on six hits and striking out seven batters.

That would be his final start with the Marlins before moving over to the Dodgers in a July trade.

After spending eight years in Miami tonight will be Nolasco’s first postseason start.

He has struggled of late, posting a 6.66 ERA in September.

Traditionally in September and October he posts a 4.58 ERA, the second worst, behind May’s 4.95 ERA.

You see the success McCann has had against him above. He hit his eighth home run against Nolasco in that contest on July 3 in Atlanta in the fourth inning of the game.

Garcia vs. Dodgers

The Dodgers will go from seeing a rookie they had never seen before to a veteran that has been around for quite some time in Garcia.

Garcia is now 37-years-old and is no longer the fireballer he once was. Instead he is going to lob tosses at you, hoping to fool a batter.

He had a 3-5 record and a 5.77 ERA with the Orioles before getting released in June. Prior to that he was signed to a minor-league contract with the Padres.

And here he is now, carrying the weight of the Braves’ NLCS hopes on his shoulders.

Due to being in the American League for so many years Garcia hasn’t seen the Dodgers all too much, going 1-1 with a 2.89 ERA. But that was against a slew of players that are no longer with the team, having last seen him in 2005.

In essence the sample size is small.

Officials in the Braves organization have raved about how well Garcia has pitched, but take it with a grain of salt, it came against the Marlins, Nationals and Brewers.

In his last postseason start (in the 2011 ALDS with the Yankees) he took a loss, pitching 5.1 innings and allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits, striking out six batters.

Let’s check out his scouting report:

  • Fastball – 87 MPH
  • Split-Finger Fastball – 79 MPH
  • Sinker – 87 MPH
  • Slider – 79 MPH
  • Curveball – 72 MPH
  • Changeup – 80 MPH

I should have gone with my gut about a lot of runs yesterday, and didn’t. So I’ll learn from my mistake and go with it today.

The Dodgers are going to tee off on the soft-tossing Garcia. It may not happen in the first time around the lineup, but they will catch up to him.

Liken him to Ted Lilly and Chris Capuano serving up batting practice to opposing team.

Why the Braves would elect to trust their season with Garcia is beyond my comprehension, but I am not complaining.

Meanwhile I see Nolasco struggling a little here, but he will work his way through some tough spots after allowing a few runs.

Eventually the Dodgers will get the game to the bullpen and all will be gravy as they celebrate before preparing for Friday’s Game 1 of the NLCS.

Prediction: Dodgers 7, Braves 5