D-backs’ Torey Lovullo relies on best matchups for the bullpen

Sep 7, 2018, 11:43 AM | Updated: 11:46 am
Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Brad Boxberger (31) pitches against the Texas Rangers during th...
Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Brad Boxberger (31) pitches against the Texas Rangers during the ninth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
(AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo expressed that he is using his bullpen in a different way strategically.

He showed that in Thursday night’s 7-6 loss to the Atlanta Braves in extra innings.

D-backs closer Brad Boxberger was pulled in the 10th after he loaded the bases on two hits and a walk with two outs. Yoshihisa Hirano entered the game following Boxberger’s exit and gave up what was ultimately the winning run for the Braves on a wild pitch.

Despite Lovullo’s decision to pull Boxberger for a second straight appearance, he still believes in his closer.

“I trust him and he’s going to get some opportunities to close out some games,” Lovullo said on Thursday.

“We’re just going to take a different path every now and then.”

The path is clear to Boxberger.

“(It) looks like we’re going to play matchups from here on out,” he said.

In 48 innings pitched this season, the 30-year-old right-hander has 31 saves and six blown saves. In 15 appearances since the All-Star break, Boxberger has converted seven of nine save opportunities and a 6.39 ERA.

Boxberger exited the game Thursday night before facing Braves left-handed outfielder Ender Inciarte following three right handers who reached base in Dansby Swanson, Tyler Flowers and Ronald Acuna Jr.

“I felt good about the matchups with him and then once we got that hitter (Inciarte), I felt like (with) the matchup (it) was time to hand it over to Yoshihisa,” Lovullo said.

“I just felt like a fresh arm and a fresh situation was going to give us an opportunity to get out of that inning. Now was it the right move? Clearly it wasn’t, we lost the game.”

Boxberger was more frustrated with his own performance than Lovullo’s decision to pull him, and expressed that he “couldn’t get the job done.”

“I had ample opportunities to get guys out before that, so this one’s on me for sure,” Boxberger said.

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