Ricky Nolasco might be pitching to determine where he fits in the Dodgers' postseason plans when he takes the mound on Wednesday against the Giants.
The Dodgers figure to have Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke leading their rotation in October, but both Nolasco and rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu are under consideration to be the No. 3 starter.
Nolasco is coming off back-to-back shaky starts after winning seven straight decisions. He recorded just four outs and was charged with seven runs at home against the Giants on Sept. 14. The right-hander followed that outing by allowing six runs in five innings against the D-backs on Thursday.
In his first 12 starts with the Dodgers after joining them in a July trade, Nolasco was 8-1 with a 2.07 ERA. But he hasn't looked the same since.
Ryu, meanwhile, struck out six over seven innings of one-run ball to beat the Giants on Tuesday in the opener of a three-game series at AT&T Park.
While the Dodgers will begin the National League Division Series next week, the Giants will see their season come to an end after Sunday's finale.
San Francisco decided to shut down starter Madison Bumgarner for the final five games, and fellow left-hander Barry Zito will start in his place on Wednesday.
Wednesday's game could mark Zito's final start with the Giants. With a $7 million buyout or an $18 million club option for next season, Zito is not expected to return to San Francisco. During seven seasons with the Giants, Zito is 62-80 with a 4.63 ERA.
"I wanted to give him one more start this homestand," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said after Tuesday's 2-1 loss. "Looking at it, we decided tomorrow would be the best time to give him this start. It gives Madison a break and he's done a lot."
Bumgarner is 13-9 with a 2.77 ERA and 199 strikeouts over 201 1/3 innings this season. He logged 208 1/3 innings in the regular season last year, then pitched an additional 15 innings in the postseason. In 2011, Bumgarner worked 204 1/3 innings.
"We talked about it quite a while and talked about it with Madison," Bochy said. "We just feel that this time it's been enough. He's done great this year and it gives us a chance to give him a break. If we were in a different situation, he'd be out there."
Dodgers: Ethier still bothered by ankle
• Outfielder Andre Ethier is unlikely to return to the starting lineup on Wednesday because his sprained left ankle limits him on the basepaths. Ethier can hit and run in a straight line, but he appeared hesitant as he rounded second base during pregame workouts on Tuesday.
"Hitting is fine and I was good shagging [fly balls], but rounding the bases is the biggest issue," said Ethier, who has not started since Sept. 13.
Manager Don Mattingly said he remains "optimistic" and "hopeful" Ethier will return in time to play in a few games this week.
"It's frustrating to be where I'm at," Ethier said. "We still have time, but not a lot of time. I'm aware, everyone is aware."
Giants: Scutaro won't play again this season
• Second baseman Marco Scutaro will miss the remainder of the season as he recovers from finger and back issues, Bochy announced on Tuesday.
"I don't think you'll see Marco out there again," Bochy said. "We're probably going to hold him out the rest of the year and start getting him ready for Spring Training."
In 127 games this season, Scutaro hit .297 with two homers, 31 RBIs and 57 runs scored.
• Infielder Joaquin Arias was in Miami on Tuesday to tend to a personal matter, according to Bochy, and will join the Giants on Wednesday. But Arias has been battling a hamstring injury since Friday and Bochy said he "needs a few days."
• Giants outfielder Hunter Pence is 1-for-25 in his past seven games since driving in 10 runs over two games against the Dodgers Sept. 14-15.
• If Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe can maintain his fielding percentage of .982 in the final five games, he would set the single-season franchise record (Adrian Beltre, .978 in 2004).
Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.