Diamondbacks’ Torey Lovullo: ‘We have to get our running game going’ vs. Phillies

Oct 23, 2023, 12:15 PM | Updated: 12:57 pm

Lourdes Gurriel Jr....

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. #12 of the Arizona Diamondbacks steals second base against Trea Turner #7 of the Philadelphia Phillies during the ninth inning in Game Three of the National League Championship Series at Chase Field on October 19, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA — Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said his club hasn’t necessarily played “D-back baseball” over the course of the NLCS, in which they trail 3-2.

A lack of action on the bases has been highlighted, with the Philadelphia Phillies out-stealing Arizona 6-1 entering Monday’s Game 6, a do-or-die game for the Diamondbacks.

Lovullo said the D-backs need to get the running game going because it is part of their DNA, but he had a multi-pronged explanation of what needs to happen.

“You have to get on base, number one,” Lovullo said. “Once you’re there, you have to be patient as a hitter. Then number three, that pitcher is going to change his delivery to get the ball to home plate. You have to be ready to jump on mistakes.”

Speedster Corbin Carroll alluded to this after Game 5, saying part of his job is drawing attention from the pitcher to allow the batter to potentially get a mistake pitch to hammer.

The D-backs stole a base in 87 of 162 games during the regular season and attempted a steal in 100 games.

But they have a lowly on-base percentage of .272 this series, so there have not been many opportunities to take off. Their regular season OBP was .322, and Philadelphia’s this series is .337.

Phillies manager Rob Thomson said on Sunday he’s “extremely happy” with the way his team has controlled the running game.

The Phillies have emphasized keeping Arizona base runners from getting a strong jump, and Game 6 starter Aaron Nola has implemented a slide step to reach the plate quicker.

“We talked about it really for the last couple of weeks, maybe a month, at the end of the season because we knew that we had some issues with holding runners,” Thomson said. “You can’t hold the ball as long as you used to because of the pitch clock, but you still can mix your hold times, so: come-set-go, come-set-hold-hold-go, come-set-hold-go.”

Next time a D-backs runner reaches first, take an extra close eye at how the Phillies are mixing their beats to keep him there.

Lovullo said he did not want to reveal any trade secrets, but he noted the D-backs have some plans in place, saying they need to get creative.

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