ATLANTA BRAVES (97-68)
at LOS ANGELES DODGERS (94-71)
National League Division Series, Game 4 - Los Angeles leads series 2-1
First pitch: Monday, 9:35 p.m. ET
Line: Los Angeles -150, Atlanta +140, Total: 7.5
After an offensive onslaught on Sunday, the Dodgers have the chance to advance to the NLCS and finish off the Braves in four games on Monday night.
Ricky Nolasco (13-11, 3.70 ERA) is officially scheduled to start this one for Los Angeles, which pounded Atlanta 13-6 on Sunday night as five Dodgers collected at least two hits apiece (LF Carl Crawford, SS Hanley Ramirez, 1B Adrian Gonzalez, RF Yasiel Puig and 3B Juan Uribe). Veteran righty Freddy Garcia (4-7, 4.37 ERA) gets the nod for the Braves, having posted a 1.65 ERA in six appearances with Atlanta. Three of those six outings were starts, with all three being quality starts (19.2 IP, 4 ER). Overall, the Braves are still 6-4 in the season series, with Los Angeles holding a 3-2 edge at home. Atlanta is 40-42 on the road in 2013 while the Dodgers are 48-34 (.585) at home.
The 37-year-old Garcia (1.25 WHIP) has been a diamond in the rough for Atlanta and beat out Paul Maholm for the fourth rotation slot with the way he has pitched since joining Atlanta. In his three starts with the team, he posted a 1.83 ERA and 1.12 WHIP, averaging 6.6 innings per start and fanning 16 batters in 19.2 innings. Two of those starts were on the road, though he has generally been worse away from home in 2013 with a 5.74 ERA and 1.56 WHIP. Still, most of that was when he struggled with Baltimore and not since his rebirth with the Braves. Garcia has never pitched in the postseason and hasnít started versus the Dodgers since 2005, but is 1-1 (team 2-2) with a 2.89 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in his career against them. SS Hanley Ramirez (3-for-8, 1 HR) has hit him well, while OF Carl Crawford (7-for-26, 1 HR), 1B Adrian Gonzalez (4-for-16, 2 K's) and 3B Juan Uribe (1-for-8, 2 K's) have been less impressive. Atlanta will need its top-notch bullpen to regain its form after struggling Sunday and allowing seven runs (3 ER) in 5.1 innings. The unit was 29-15 with a 2.46 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in the regular season, but has a 4.15 ERA and 1.23 WHIP so far in the NLDS.
Nolasco (1.21 WHIP) fanned 165 batters and walked 46 in 199.1 innings this season, while giving up 17 long balls. He led L.A. to an 11-5 record in his 16 starts with the team, personally going 8-3 with a 3.52 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. He really struggled in his final three starts of the year though, giving up 17 earned runs in 12 innings for a 12.75 ERA and 2.33 WHIP. Nolasco has never pitched in the playoffs, but logged 7 1/2 years with the Marlins, has plenty of experience against the Braves, and it has been advantage Atlanta. He is 6-10 (team 9-14) with a 5.19 ERA and 1.54 WHIP in 23 career starts. However, he did win his lone start against them this year, giving up two earned runs in seven innings on July 3. Nolasco has mostly been the victim of C Brian McCann (.345 BA, 8 HR, 23 RBI in 58 AB) and OF Jason Heyward (.348 BA, .652 slugging in 23 AB), but he has baffled the Upton brothers, B.J. and Justin, who are a combined 6-for-30 (.200 BA) with 10 K's off the right-hander. The Dodgers bullpen pitched well in the regular season (3.49 ERA, 1.29 WHIP), but has been a little wild this series with eight walks in 10 innings, leading to a 3.60 ERA and 1.60 WHIP.