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Arizona Diamondbacks: Five Questions for Opening Day and Beyond

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Mar 8, 2017; Salt River Pima-Maricopa, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke against Mexico during a 2017 World Baseball Classic exhibition game at Salt River Fields. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 8, 2017; Salt River Pima-Maricopa, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke against Mexico during a 2017 World Baseball Classic exhibition game at Salt River Fields. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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Arizona Diamondbacks
Arizona Diamondbacks

Torey Lovullo (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

What has Lovullo shown this spring?

For Torey Lovullo, managing the Arizona Diamondbacks represents two significant dimensions.

First, this is his first full-time managerial job at the major-league level. More important, he’s switching from playing and coaching in the American League to the pitcher-hitting and strategy-driven National League.  At the same time, there’s a significant curve in learning different team tendencies as well as finding weaknesses in new, opposing hitters.

On a more important level, there have been a few insights into how Lovullo will manage a baseball game and the emphasis he places on how to win.

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If two developments evolved during spring training, one was Lovullo’s take on analytics. He clearly has bought into this dimension of determining strategy and making adjustments due to trends and tendencies.

Directly related to his emphasis on analytics is Lovullo’s penchant for using the shift. Telling Venom Strikes earlier this spring that “we will be very aggressive in placing people in the right position to get an out,” Lovullo demonstrated through spring training the ability move players into advantageous defensive positions.

Another hint into Lovullo’s thinking his desire to use the hit-and-run in any count situation The traditional movement of runners is usually on a full count with one on and always with two outs. Lovullo’s has started runners in the middle of counts and third base coach Tony Perezchica tends to be aggressive in waving runners around third and to the plate.

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In game management, Lovullo emphasizes the importance of each pitch and reminds fans that if his pitcher wins that pitch, then the at-bat, then the inning, the chances are good to eventually win that game. The same is true with the hitters, in winning each at-bat, the ability to string quality at-bats together leads to victories.

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