There are no mulligans in baseball, but if not for a few tough starts, Ricky Nolasco would rank among the National League's ERA leaders. Removing three games from his season slate would drop his ERA by more than a run.

"Sometimes it's just a slight adjustment from maybe a hitter or two," manager Jack McKeon said.

Nolasco, who is 6-7 with a 4.08?ERA, is coming off what he described as "probably the worst start of my career," when he allowed nine runs in 1?1/3 innings against the Padres on Wednesday. But before Wednesday's drubbing, Nolasco was having arguably the best stretch of his career. In his four prior starts, Nolasco allowed just two earned runs over 32?innings.

"He's got the potential to be a 20-game winner," McKeon said. "He's got the stuff."

Without Wednesday's start and two others — May?29, when he allowed eight runs in five innings against the Dodgers, and a three-inning, five-run outing against the Diamondbacks on June?13 — Nolasco's ERA would be 2.80.