By Steve Dilbeck
10:33 PM PDT, September 25, 2013
This is supposed to be the week the Dodgers answer final questions before starting the postseason, not come up with new ones.
Yet right-hander Ricky Nolasco had to leave them wondering exactly where he is right now after the Dodgers’ 6-4 loss Wednesday to the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park.
On the same day the Dodgers faced the possibility of starting the postseason without outfielder Andre Ethier, Nolasco went out and underperformed in his third consecutive outing.
In his last three starts, Nolasco is 0-2 with a 12.75 earned-run average. In his seven previous starts to that run, he was 6-1 with a 1.17 ERA.
But right now he’s struggling with his consistency, and that has to give the Dodgers pause. He was considered a strong possibility to enter the playoffs as their No. 3 starter, but now that seems firmly the slot for Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Nolasco (13-11) went 5 2/3 innings Wednesday, allowing six runs on eight hits and a walk. He struck out seven.
Former Dodger Tony Abreu had himself a career night, driving in four runs for the Giants. He started the scoring with a three-run triple just beyond the glove of Yasiel Puig in the second inning.
The Dodgers got two back in the fourth when singles by Puig and Carl Crawford preceded a run-scoring double from Matt Kemp. They scored the second run on shortstop Brandon Crawford’s error.
The Giants answered in the bottom of the inning with a two-run homer from Pablo Sandoval.
The Dodgers added another unearned run in the sixth, but Abreu doubled in a run in the bottom of the inning. The Dodgers added a final run in the eighth after Crawford doubled and scored on a Kemp base hit.
The winning pitcher was Barry Zito, whose contract expires at the end of the season and who was making his final start in San Francisco.
Zito had appeared in only one game all month and last won a game on May 30. In his 17 games since then, he had a 7.85 ERA.
But Zito, topping out around 80 to 84 mph, retired the first nine Dodgers and held on to finish his season 5-11.
Ethier flew back to Los Angeles early Wednesday to have his still sore ankle and leg examined by Dr. Neal ElAttrache. He had an MRI and CT scan, and the Dodgers said the injury had improved but had yet to fully heal. Which managed to confirm what they already thought.
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