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Dodgers leave left-handed relievers off the roster

Chris Capuano and Paco Rodriguez won't pitch against the Cardinals, who batted only .238 against left-handers during the regular season.

October 11, 2013|Dylan Hernandez

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ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Cardinals had trouble hitting left-handed pitching this season, but the Dodgers have only one left-hander in their bullpen for the National League Championship Series.


Don Mattingly wouldn't say.

"I don't know if I really want to go into all the reasons why," the Dodgers' manager said.

Left-handers Chris Capuano and Paco Rodriguez were dropped from the roster and replaced by right-handers Carlos Marmol and Edinson Volquez, leaving J.P. Howell as the Dodgers' only left-handed reliever.

Left-handed starters Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu, who are pitching Games 2 and 3, respectively, could conceivably pitch in relief at some point in the series.

Kershaw said he would be open to starting on three days' rest, as he did in the division series, but with Zack Greinke scheduled to pitch Game 5, that seems unnecessary. Kershaw is scheduled to make his second start of the series in Game 6 on five days' rest. That being the case, Kershaw could pitch in relief between Games 2 and 6 instead of throwing a bullpen session. He wouldn't say if Mattingly has talked to him about pitching out of the bullpen.

The Cardinals batted only .238 against left-handers this season, fourth-worst in baseball. Their .280 average against right-handers was third-best.

Still, the Dodgers probably were concerned with Capuano's career numbers at Busch Stadium. Capuano is 0-4 with a 7.90 earned-run average in six games at the ballpark, including five starts.

Capuano, who pitched three scoreless innings in the division series, was gracious.

"He has a lot of options," Capuano said.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez appears to have nothing left after he was used 76 times in the regular season. Rodriguez posted a 5.68 ERA in September. He made two division series appearances, giving up two runs, four hits, two walks and recording only two outs.

"Where does that come from?" Mattingly said. "Is it just from usage where he's in his first full year and just kind of running out of gas?"

Actually, Rodriguez was heavily used last year too. He made 66 appearances in 2012 between the University of Florida, the minors and the majors.

Whatever the case, Mattingly said it was difficult for him to tell Rodriguez he would be dropped from the roster.

"Doing the rosters is probably one of the worst things that I've had to do," Mattingly said. "Guys are working to where you want to be, and to say 'You're not going to be a part of this,' that is not easy to talk about with guys because guys are competitive. You know they want to be there and, in some cases, they've helped you get here."

Kershaw on the Cardinals

The Cardinals were the only team against which Kershaw was 0-2 in the regular season. Kershaw, who faces the Cardinals on Saturday, gave up a combined six runs in 13 innings in those games.

"A great team, just up and down the lineup," Kershaw said. "Everybody talks about the team approach they have and kind of passing the baton to the next guy. They don't always hit homers, but they just get big hits and that's kind of what they preach. I guess that's the challenge they pose."

Short hops

Ricky Nolasco will start Game 4, Mattingly announced. Nolasco was skipped in the division series, as the Dodgers decided to start Kershaw on three days' rest on what was originally Nolasco's day to start. … Kershaw was named the winner of the Warren Spahn Award, which Oklahoma City's Bricktown Rotary Club presents every year to the top left-hander in baseball.

Twitter: @dylanohernandez

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