Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo talks late season success
After spending a majority of their season playing .500 baseball, the Arizona Diamondbacks seem to be pulling away from that bubble.
The team posted a winning record in August and despite a slight cool down, they have continued to play good baseball and fight for a Wild Card spot.
D-backs manager Torey Lovullo recently joined former big leaguer Mark DeRosa for a segment of DeRo’s Digs on MLB Central to talk about how his team got to the position they’re in and what moments gave them the biggest push.
The 2017 National League Manager of the Year sees a single win in a series loss to the Milwaukee Brewers and a big play at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers by first baseman Christian Walker, as considerable influences on the D-backs’ season.
While visiting the Brewers from Aug. 23-25 the teams offense shut down, scoring only one run in the first two games at Miller Park.
The D-backs were on the verge of a sweep.
However, they mustered together five runs to win the final game of the series, a day game and a travel day for the Snakes.
— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) August 25, 2019
“Up until that point we had really been struggling,” Lovullo told the MLB Network analyst. “To get that good push, win the last game and get on the airplane with a good feeling – I think it set us up for what was ready to happen.”
What was about to happen was three straight series wins coming against NL West rivals Giants, Dodgers and Padres. The most pivotal of the series wins coming against the Dodgers who would become the first team in baseball to clinch a playoff spot.
“The Dodgers weren’t playing very good baseball,” he said. “They made several key mistakes. I think what good teams do when you’re given extra outs or see those mistakes is you take advantage of them.
“Every time they failed, we pounced on them. We got some really good mojo going after this series.”
Although there were a number of key moments during that series including an eighth inning opposite field home run hit by Eduardo Escobar off Kenley Jansen in the team 6-5 win Aug. 31, Lovullo believes there’s one play particularly that had the biggest effect on the series and the season.
In the ninth inning of that same game, with no outs and the bases loaded, Christian Walker made a miraculous diving play to his right that would initiate a 3-6-1 double play, which allowed just one run to score.
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) September 1, 2019
“We talk about winning the inch,” he said. “The inch in baseball is not the game of inches, it’s that you have to prepare to win every inch all over the baseball field. We feel there are a million inches per game we want to win.”
Lovullo said the team has prepared for those situations time and time again.
The D-backs lost the final game of the series but followed it with an important sweep of the Padres, a team they play against six more times before the end of the season.