Dodgers manager Don Mattingly mostly affirmed Monday night that Ricky Nolasco will start Tuesday's Game 4 of the National League Championship Series for Los Angeles.

But it might be wise to continue to refer to Nolasco as a "probable" starter.

Mattingly stopped just short of issuing an ironclad guarantee that Nolasco will start.

"As of right now" Mattingly said after Los Angeles bested St. Louis 3-0 in Game 3 of the NLCS "Ricky Nolasco will be pitching tomorrow."

Before Game 3 Mattingly sounded prepared to bypass Nolasco in favor of Zack Greinke who has superior credentials if the Dodgers absorbed a loss that would push them to the brink of elimination. The obvious risk was that Greinke if summoned for Game 4 would be working on three days' rest one fewer than usual.

"I would say yes today's results may have something to do [with it]" Mattingly admitted.

This has become a familiar situation for Nolasco 30. The Dodgers replaced him with Clayton Kershaw last Monday in Game 4 of the NL Division Series against Atlanta. Kershaw allowed two runs in six innings and received no decision as Los Angeles clinched the series with a 4-3 triumph.

"Until somebody says otherwise I'm focused on going out there and pitching tomorrow" Nolasco said. Referring to his conditional starting status he added "Those things are out of my control. I'm only concentrating on the things I can control."

If the uncertainty annoyed Nolasco he hid it well.

"I think anybody would want to be able to pitch in a postseason game" he said. "... My time will come. Whether it will or it won't everything is meant to be and happens for a reason."

Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis expressed unqualified confidence in Nolasco.

"I expect the same competitive guy to step up and keep [the Cardinals] off balance and make some pitches."

Cardinals third baseman David Freese whose playing status is day to day with a right leg injury voiced respect for Nolasco.

"He's good. He uses his offspeed [pitches] a lot" Freese said. "We've just got to hit mistakes. This is the time of year where you've got to pound mistakes. We obviously haven't done that this series but hopefully we can get it going tomorrow."