LOS ANGELES -- Paco Rodriguez has seen a drop in production recently, but the Dodgers still have confidence in the rookie left-handed reliever going forward.
In addition to posting a 5.68 ERA in September, Rodriguez has made a pair of forgettable appearances in the National League Division Series against the Braves.
During a loss in Game 2, Rodriguez allowed a two-run single to Jason Heyward, spoiling the left-on-left matchup manager Don Mattingly wanted. Given another chance to retire Heyward in the ninth inning of a blowout win in Game 3, Rodriguez gave up a two-run homer.
But the Dodgers say they won't shy away from using Rodriguez again in October.
"It doesn't kick Paco out of any plans," Mattingly said before Game 4. "It just means he's in a little stretch right now where he's had some stuff going on as far as not getting outs."
Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said Rodriguez's troubles boil down to execution and pitch selection.
"A lot of the pitches have just not been executed," Honeycutt said before Game 4. "The ball was actually crisper last night. He tried a front-door cutter to Heyward and it found the center of his bat."
Rodriguez's cutter has found the center of a lot of bats recently. Honeycutt said left-handed hitters were 1-for-9 against the rookie's slider down the stretch, compared to 3-for-7 against his cutter.
"A lot of times it's just selection more than anything and making the wrong pitch at the wrong time," Honeycutt said.
Short series plays into decision to skip Nolasco
LOS ANGELES -- Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said the Dodgers' decision to start Clayton Kershaw on short rest instead of Ricky Nolasco in Game 4 of the National League Division Series does not show the club has lost confidence in Nolasco.
"I don't feel that," Honeycutt said when asked if skipping Nolasco was a vote of no confidence.
Nolasco, who has never pitched in the postseason, likely would have made a start if the NLDS were a seven-game series.
"A five-game series is different than a seven-game series," Honeycutt said before Game 4. "We've had a lot of conversations with Ricky during this week. We felt he was prepared for today. This guy is a pro. He's going to be prepared to do whatever we ask him to do this afternoon and going forward."
Nolasco won eight of his first nine decisions after being acquired in a July trade with the Marlins. But the right-hander allowed 17 runs in 12 innings over his final three starts of the regular season. He has not started since Sept. 25, with one inning of relief Sept. 29.
Honeycutt said Nolasco would be available in relief in Game 4 if the club needs a long man with Chris Capuano unavailable after tossing three innings Sunday in Game 3.
Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.