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

Aug 21, 2018, 4:05 PM | Updated: 6:03 pm
Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo works in the dugout in the fourth inning of a baseball g...

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)

(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.

Penguin Air

Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Chris Devenski works against the Colorado Rockies in the sixth ...
Associated Press

Arizona Diamondbacks drop series opener in Colorado to Rockies

The Arizona Diamondbacks only managed five hits in a loss on the road against the Colorado Rockies.
2 days ago
Arizona Diamondbacks' Sergio Alcantara (43) and Geraldo Perdomo, middle, celebrate after scoring ag...
Kellan Olson

Diamondbacks rally to beat Pirates, make up for odd defensive blunder

The Arizona Diamondbacks' seven runs in the seventh inning picked up starter Merrill Kelly after he was positioned for an undeserved loss.
3 days ago
Chicago White Sox pitcher Lance Lynn warms up in the outfield before a baseball game against the Ne...
Associated Press

‘Field of Dreams’ game Thursday sees Cubs, Reds clash

“Field of Dreams” gets another tribute when the Cincinnati Reds take on the Chicago Cubs in a throwback ballpark in the cornfields of Iowa.
4 days ago
Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Daulton Varsho leaps in vain for a triple hit by Pittsburgh Pira...
Kellan Olson

Bizarre double play, replay review costs Diamondbacks in loss to Pirates

The D-backs loaded the bases with nobody out down 6-3 in the ninth inning against the Pirates before one of the strangest plays of the year.
3 days ago
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) is tackled by Philadelphia Eagles safety Marc...
Arizona Sports

Larry Fitzgerald, Pedro Gomez in 2022 Arizona Sports Hall of Fame class

Arizona Cardinals legend Larry Fitzgerald and late journalist Pedro Gomez are among the 2022 class entering the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame.
4 days ago
Tommy Henry #47 of the Arizona Diamondbacks delivers a first inning pitch against the Pittsburgh Pi...
Kellan Olson

D-backs starting pitching stays hot, Henry’s first W takes down Pirates

Diamondbacks rookie Tommy Henry continued the strong run of form from the team's starting pitching lately in a win over the Pirates.
5 days ago
Lovullo confident in D-backs’ ability to withstand challenging schedule