Despite pitching three hitless innings in the NLDS, Chris Capuano won't… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)
ST. LOUIS — Unless the Dodgers move Hyun-Jin Ryu into the bullpen, J.P. Howell will be their only left-handed reliever in the National League Championship Series.
The decision to have only one left-handed reliever on the roster came as something of a surprise, considering the St. Louis Cardinals hit right-handers much better than they do left-handers.
The Cardinals’ .238 average against left-handers ranked 27th in the major leagues. Their .280 average against right-handers ranked third.
Left-handers Chris Capuano and Paco Rodriguez, who were on the division series team, were dropped from the roster. They were replaced by midseason reclamation projects Carlos Marmol and Edinson Volquez.
Capuano pitched three scoreless innings in Game 3 of the division series.
Rodriguez has been pitching on fumes. The rookie appeared in 76 games this season and appeared worn down in September, when he posted a 5.68 earned-run average. Rodriguez made two appearances in the division series, giving up a combined two runs and four hits in two-thirds of an inning.
The Dodgers are staying with 14 position players for this round, including reserve outfielder Scott Van Slyke and pinch-running specialist Dee Gordon. Their presence on the roster could be an indication that the Dodgers aren’t sure that Andre Ethier will be able to play the outfield or run the bases.