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NLCS Notebook

Dodgers To Turn to Lowe on Short Rest

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By Chico Harlan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 13, 2008

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 12 -- At a point in the series where the need to win trumps the need to rest, the Los Angeles Dodgers have decided to start Derek Lowe for Monday's Game 4 on three days' rest.

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There's a clear reason, of course, why Lowe deserves such a measure of faith: Since Aug. 11, in 12 regular season and postseason starts, Lowe has a 7-2 record and a 1.55 ERA. He has become Los Angeles's big-game pitcher.

But this one comes with a complication. He'll pitch on short rest for just the second time this year. The only other time he did so, he allowed 10 hits and seven runs in five innings against the Angels on May 18.

Still, when Manager Joe Torre spoke to Lowe about the possibility of starting Game 4, Lowe said, without hesitation, that "there's no problem; I'll pitch whenever."

Torre, at least publicly, had said days earlier that either Greg Maddux or Clayton Kershaw could take the mound for Game 4. But several factors changed his mind. He didn't want Kershaw, a lefty, facing a mostly right-handed Philadelphia lineup. He wanted Chad Billingsley, the Game 2 starter, "out there as soon as possible again," and going to back to Lowe, the Game 1 pitcher, meant restarting the rotation. Lowe pitching Game 4 also means he could pitch in a potential Game 7 on full rest.

"He's got the mind-set and the experience that makes him raise his hand any time you think about doing something like this," Torre said. "And it certainly makes my job easier as opposed to trying to talk somebody into pitching on short rest. Plus, if he maybe is a little tired, a sinkerball pitcher is probably the one guy that's not going to feel the effects of it."

Manuel on Mother

When Charlie Manuel spoke on Sunday for the first time about the death of his mother, the emotions left him tongue-tied. He started to describe his coping -- managing in the hours after her death on Friday; receiving phone calls of support -- only to reverse his thoughts. He maintained his composure. But dealing with a private moment in a playoff spotlight created another layer of complexity.

"If I had my way, no one would -- I don't think nobody would ever, you know, have to really -- I don't know," Manuel said. "I think in some ways if [the attention] would be good for my mother it would be fine. But other ways, too, that was always private with me."

Manuel never gave consideration to not managing because of his mother's death, he said.

"We've come this far," Manuel said, "and I just want to be there."


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