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Lovullo confident in D-backs’ ability to withstand challenging schedule

Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo works in the dugout in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The talk surrounding the Arizona Diamondbacks is how difficult their schedule is for the remainder of the season.

After the D-backs play a two-game series at home against the Los Angeles Angels that begins on Tuesday, 27 of their last 35 games are against teams above .500. That includes some teams that are fighting with Arizona in the middle of a tightly contested playoff chase, like the Colorado Rockies, Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Sure, for the optimistic types, the D-backs get to control their future. At the same time, it’s a daunting stretch of the season where mediocre baseball will be unacceptable if the D-backs want to be playing in October.

That fact is what everyone is focused on with the D-backs, but while D-backs manager Torey Lovullo is very aware of the road ahead, he has his own perspective on the optics of their situation.

“Everybody is talking about the teams that we’re playing, the teams that we did play, the teams that we play in the future — we’re the Arizona Diamondbacks,” Lovullo said on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Burns & Gambo. “We’re pretty good. So these teams have got to come into our house and we’re gonna go visit their house. They’re getting a team that is going to be playing really good baseball and prepared for this moment that they’ve been talking about for a long time.”

Lovullo feels his team’s familiarity with the competition and his confidence in his players creates the mindset a team 13 games above .500 deserves.

“I’m sure [other teams are] looking at their schedule going, ‘Oh, man, we’ve gotta play these guys how many times?’ so I want us to focus on that a little bit, not be so intimidated or get that glossy-eyed feeling that I’ve talked about,” he said.

And with so much focus on the “closing stretch” of Arizona’s season, Lovullo is fully aware of how long that stretch still is and how close all the races are.

“I break it down in one way — buckle up,” he said. “It’s gonna be a great race. A three-game lead now isn’t gonna mean a darn thing because there’s going to be teams that are charging after each other left and right. The way that I think — what it’ll come down to is how we play head-to-head with the competition right around us.


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Burns & Gambo

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