Starter Ricky Nolasco came to the Dodgers via trade on July 6 with the Miami Marlins in exchange for three minor league pitchers. The Dodgers acquired Nolasco to become the fourth starter and solidify the back end of the rotation.
Regular Season Grade: B
Although many may remember the final few starts of Nolasco’s time with the Dodgers, the right-hander was a solid contributor to the rotation and finished with an 8-3 record and a 3.52 ERA in 15 starts for the Dodgers. In his first 12 starts with the team, Nolasco was 8-1 with a 2.07 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 74 innings as the fourth starter.
Nolasco stumbled down the stretch in his last three starts, as he was 0-2 with an 11.77 ERA in 12 innings. He allowed at least five runs in all of those starts, never going more than six innings. Some believe that Nolasco couldn’t pitch in pressure situations, but it may have just been a string of bad luck.
His best start with the team was against the Boston Red Sox when Nolasco went eight innings while allowing just two hits and no runs to help the Dodgers earn their only victory in the three-game series. He came in and did just what the Dodgers needed and provided a capable fourth starter that had flashes of dominance.
Playoff Grade: C-
Nolasco was set to start Game 4 in the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves but was skipped over for Clayton Kershaw on three days’ rest when the Dodgers had a chance to end the series. The 30-year-old was a team player and was very supportive of Dodger manager Don Mattingly’s decision.
Some felt that Nolasco would again be skipped in the rotation when the Dodgers took Game 3 in the NLCS and needed a win to tie the series; however, instead of using Zack Greinke on short rest, Mattingly gave Nolasco the nod to start Game 4. The right-handed starter went just four innings and allowed three runs, including a monstrous home run to Cardinals’ outfielder Matt Holliday. Nolasco was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fourth and he didn’t pitch the rest of the series.
Overall Grade: B-
Despite his late-season struggles, Nolasco was exactly what the Dodgers needed as he solidified the number four spot in the rotation and kept the team in most games. He may have even been a steal considering he did finish with an 8-3 record in his time with the Dodgers.
Many just remember his last three starts, four if you count the postseason, instead of remembering what came before. Nolasco was a solid contributor to the team and was a significant pickup by general manager Ned Colletti.
Nolasco is a free agent and it’s unknown whether the Dodgers plan to re-sign him or not; however, he did show that he could handle the job this season.
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