9/20/2013 10:13 P.M. ET
Dodgers to play it safe with ailing hitters down stretch
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- OK, now that the Dodgers have clinched the division, manager Don Mattingly is willing to talk about threading the needle between resting his quartet of ailing hitters, playing them enough to be sharp for the playoffs and winning enough games to earn home-field advantage.
"We feel we can win on the road, but we want to be healthy," Mattingly said. "We'd also like to be at home with the home-field advantage, but to not have Adrian [Gonzalez] and Hanley [Ramirez] in the lineup? No. If they can play, we're going to play. But if medical says there's a risk, that Hanley is tight, we're not going to use him. Rather be more safe than sorry later."
Primarily, Mattingly is concerned with shortstop Ramirez (back nerve), outfielders Andre Ethier (sprained left ankle) and Matt Kemp (right hamstring) and first baseman Gonzalez (quad strain). He said he met with the medical department to discuss who needs rest and how much.
"Is home-field advantage more important than Hanley being healthy or Andre being healthy? I say no," said Mattingly. "Hanley will get the most days [off]. He might play three or four [of the remaining nine games]. We've seen him after missing six games and his offense comes right back, unbelievable timing. He's shown us playing every day isn't that important.
"Matt is in a different category. I'd like to see Matt play most of the games, but not to where the hammy is tight.
"Andre, I'd like to see him get some at-bats. He'll start hitting on the field today. He looked good today, carrying bats and his glove.
"Gonzalez feels good today. He can't really run, so it won't kill his speed."
Mattingly 'taken aback' by outrage over pool party
SAN DIEGO -- Poolgate took on a life of its own Friday, with reliever Brian Wilson and Sen. John McCain tweeting barbs while manager Don Mattingly voiced concern that the controversy over the Dodgers' pool party at Chase Field would obscure the reason for the partying.
"The only thing I don't want is for it to take away from what they accomplished," Mattingly said. "They played really good baseball and I don't want it overshadowed."
Mattingly also said he was "a little taken aback" by the D-backs' anger -- expressed in the Arizona clubhouse and front office -- with the Dodgers' clinching celebration Thursday that spilled out of the clubhouse and into the unique swimming pool beyond the right-center-field fence.
"That celebration is the culmination of a long, long season and it's like Little League when you win," Mattingly said. "It's exciting. That stuff is spontaneous. I don't think it was planned to disrespect anybody or embarrass anybody. Everybody was gone, maybe 100 fans were left. We weren't rubbing it in anybody's face.
"If we tore it up ... but we didn't hurt the pool. It couldn't have been that bad. Would the Padres be mad if we went to the sandbox [in the children's park behind Petco Park] and made sand castles?"
Senator McComplain knows a thing or two about coming in second and watching someone take a plunge in the pool (I mean poll) #POoLITICS- Brian Wilson (@BrianWilson38) September 20, 2013
Veteran Michael Young also couldn't understand the fuss.
"We celebrated in a very harmless way," he said. "We jumped in the pool, we jumped out and went back to the clubhouse. I've always been a proponent of celebrating when you do something good on the field. You win a division, it's important to celebrate, let loose, then return."
Arizona native Andre Ethier said he believes there is an underlying reason for the controversy.
"I think it's more on them losing than us being in the pool," he said. "I get it. They don't want you defacing anything or feel like they're being trampled on. But it doesn't make it better that they lose and are out of the playoffs."
Catcher A.J. Ellis said a little perspective is needed.
"A dozen people in Chicago were shot yesterday and everybody's talking about a swimming party," he said. "It's kind of a sad statement."
NLDS rotation not set beyond Kershaw, Greinke
SAN DIEGO -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly stated the obvious Friday, saying Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke are lined up to start Games 1 and 2 of the National League Division Series.
But Mattingly wouldn't say that Hyun-Jin Ryu would start the third game or that Ricky Nolasco the fourth game, even though Ryu and Nolasco are currently lined up in that order, followed by Edinson Volquez.
"Kershaw and Greinke, we know that for sure," Mattingly said. "The rest, we'll see as we go."
Mattingly said he thought Nolasco pitched better Thursday than the way it was characterized in the media. Nolasco was given a three-run lead in the top of the third inning, allowed six runs in the bottom of the inning and followed with two scoreless innings.
"It sounded like Ricky was terrible, but he got a lot better after that inning," Mattingly said. "He started making adjustments. That inning just got away from him."
Mattingly said the composition of the opposing team's lineup might influence which starter pitches Game 3. He said the schedule sets up for a four-man rotation, "unless we pitch somebody short [rest]. We've mulled it over but I'm not willing to say."
• Pitcher Chris Capuano is still hobbled by a strained left groin and has postponed a bullpen session until next week in San Francisco.
• Don Mattingly said he wants Tim Federowicz to catch Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke before the playoffs. A.J. Ellis is their regular catcher
• Mattingly said he plans to use Michael Young at second base in the next week.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.