Arizona Diamondbacks extend manager Torey Lovullo through 2022
Amid a season of cellar-dwelling in the National League and without a playoff berth since 2017, the Arizona Diamondbacks made the decision to extend manager Torey Lovullo through the 2022 season, the team announced Thursday.
Lovullo’s contract was set to expire after the 2021 season concludes.
The moves by Arizona comes amid Lovullo’s fifth season as D-backs skipper. Lovullo was general manager Mike Hazen’s first managerial hire when Hazen took the job in 2017.
Arizona is 48-104, tied for last in Major League Baseball.
The team went 333-365 in Lovullo’s nearly five seasons as manager.
Since taking over in 2017 to replace Chip Hale, Lovullo finished second in the NL West twice, making the playoffs in 2017 with a 93-69 record. After taking down the Colorado Rockies in the NL Wild Card game, Arizona’s postseason came to a close with a 3-1 NLDS loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Despite the immediate success, 2017 marks Arizona’s only playoff appearance under Lovullo.
The D-backs would respectively post 82 and 85 wins over the next two seasons before struggling mightily in 2020. Amid a shortened 60-game season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the D-backs went 25-35 as the team from top to bottom fell short of expectations.
This season hasn’t been without its issues beyond Lovullo’s control. After bouncing back to two games over .500 on May 2, the D-backs crashed back down to earth, going 3-17 over their next 20 matchups.
The Diamondbacks at one point lost 24 consecutive road games to set an MLB record, breaking a 22-game skid by the New York Mets (1963) and Philadelphia Athletics (1943).
It hasn’t helped Arizona has dealt with a laundry list of injuries this season, especially throughout the starting rotation.
Zac Gallen spent two stints on the injured list in 2021 due to a hairline stress fracture and a sprained right elbow. Taylor Widener (right groin strain), Merrill Kelly (COVID-19 protocols) and Luke Weaver (right shoulder strain) have also seen time on the IL.
While ace Madison Bumgarner has remained relatively healthy and flashed success, his May 17 start was cut short due to a left adductor spasm. He was initially not placed on the IL and managed to make his next three starts. But on June 3, he was placed on the 10-day IL with shoulder inflammation.
Injuries to starters didn’t stop there, with catcher Carson Kelly (toe fracture), first baseman Christian Walker (strained oblique) and outfielder Ketel Marte (strained hamstring) among those spending extended time on the 10-day IL. Outfielder Kole Calhoun was transferred to the 60-day IL due to a hamstring injury before returning late in the year.