Torey Lovullo says series victory over Brewers is partial payback for 2011

Oct 6, 2023, 7:47 PM | Updated: Oct 9, 2023, 1:01 pm

Arizona Diamondbacks Manager Torey Lovullo, Giants at Diamondbacks September 21, 2023 (Jeremy Schne...

Arizona Diamondbacks Manager Torey Lovullo, Giants at Diamondbacks September 21, 2023 (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)

(Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)

The Arizona Diamondbacks’ victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in this year’s NL Wild Card Series was sweet, but for many in the organization, it was a modicum of payback for losing to the Brew Crew in a 2011 NLDS.

For those who don’t remember, the 2011 D-backs lost that series 3-2. The Brewers were led offensively in that series by Ryan Braun, who hit .500 with 4 doubles, 4 RBIs and 1 home run.

He was the National League MVP that year.

In July 2013, he was suspended for the remainder of the season for violating the league’s drug rules during the 2011 season.

“From my understanding, that has been something (the organization) has been carrying around for the past several years with the Brewers, so not only did we do that for the current team and this organization, but for the past players,” Lovullo said on Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo.

Lovullo, who joined the D-backs organization in 2016, said he heard from many in the organization about the matter.

“The list is endless. Ian Kennedy, Webby, everybody that was there. The current staff members that are still with us. Ken Crenshaw (head athletic trainer), Nate Shaw (strength coach). They started to give me the history as we were rotating into that series and it’s real. It’s real. Hopefully, we made the entire state proud,” Lovullo said.

Gallen’s Game 2 Gem

Lovullo also dished on Zac Gallen’s first playoff start in which he surrendered two runs in the first, then shut the Brewers down over the next five innings.

“What he was trying to do was establish his fastball, find out where it was going and then just got behind in some counts and he had to pay the fiddler. This is playoff baseball. They are all ready, they are all gassed up and striking the baseball and making good hard contact. He gives up two runs,” he said.

He said managing to escape with only surrendering two runs was critical for Gallen’s mindset to stay sharply focused and the comebacker that knocked his glove off and led to a double play to end the third inning was icing on the cake.

“I think the line drive that knocked off his glove really woke him up,” he said.

Thomas stirs offense, Moreno OK

Alek Thomas’ solo HR in the fifth inning was what got the D-backs started and Lovullo said it was just what the guys in the clubhouse needed and very similar to what Corbin Carroll’s HR meant in Game 1 off Corbin Burnes.

“When we got to that point the whole demeanor on the dugout changed. Much like the night before, it was like, alright, somebody just started the engine, let’s get this thing rolling,” Lovullo said.

The D-backs also had to strike back without C Gabriel Moreno, who was removed from the game in the third inning after he was struck by an errant swing in the second inning.

Lovullo said even though Moreno wanted to stay in the game, the medical staff – which travels with the team during the playoffs – advised to take him out to ensure he would be available as the D-backs advanced in the playoffs.

“I told him, I said, ‘Look, I know you want to stay in the game. But if you take one more foul tip, you are going to absolutely have a concussion and be completely out for the next series. Let’s be smart about this,’” Lovullo said.

D-backs know L.A.

The D-backs begin the National League Division Series Saturday in Los Angeles.

Lovullo says the series is a matchup of two teams who know each other very well.

“We know their lineup, so there is familiarity. It is going to give everybody an advantage. And they are the same way with us. It is just going to come down to winning those little moments,” Lovullo said.

The Dodgers know NLDS Game 1 starting pitcher Merrill Kelly so well, they may have his number. Kelly is 0-11 vs the Dodgers and a 5.49 ERA in 16 appearances against them. Kelly has a career ERA of 3.80 in 127 starts.

“The Dodgers have been counter punching him and doing a good job and it is just up to us and Merrill to go out with a good game plan,” he said. “We know Merril got banged around a couple of times by the Dodgers but he is extremely motivated.”

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Torey Lovullo says series victory over Brewers is partial payback for 2011