Lovullo: Luke Weaver’s short start for D-backs against Padres was planned

Aug 7, 2020, 7:18 PM | Updated: 11:38 pm

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Luke Weaver works against a San Diego Padres batter during th...

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Luke Weaver works against a San Diego Padres batter during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 7, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

The middle innings have been an issue for Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Luke Weaver early in the 2020 season.

He allowed five runs during the fourth inning of his first start of the season against the San Diego Padres and six runs combined in the fourth and fifth innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers in his second start of the season.

D-backs manager Torey Lovullo after noticing the trend told Weaver prior to the game that his outing on Friday against the San Diego Padres would only be three innings.

“We saw that the trend was that at some point in that fourth, fifth inning things were potentially backing up on him and he just wasn’t having a lot of success,” Lovullo said in a Zoom call with the media after the D-backs’ 3-0 loss to the Padres on Friday night.

“So we just thought we would get out ahead of it.”

The move for a starting pitcher to only go one trip through a lineup is a strategy used by some teams, primarily in the American League, known as an opener.

Lovullo, however, was clear that was not the case on Friday night.

Weaver missed nearly four months last season due to a forearm strain. Lovullo said the early removal on Friday was to help Weaver continue building strength rather than using him as an opener.

“He’s missed a lot of time … we just felt like it was going to help him continue to move forward and get back into that form that we saw before he was injured last year,” Lovullo said.

Weaver allowed solo home runs to Fernando Tatis Jr. and Jake Cronenworth in the first and second inning, respectively, while striking out three and walking one prior to being removed.

Lovullo said he would get some feedback from Weaver prior to making a decision about the length of his next scheduled start Wednesday in Colorado against the Rockies.

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Lovullo: Luke Weaver’s short start for D-backs against Padres was planned