Manager Torey Lovullo of the Arizona Diamondbacks says his team remains in a good spot.
LOS ANGELES – The fact the Arizona Diamondbacks have lost two of their last three series remains of little concern to manager Torey Lovullo. Before Thursday’s game with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Diamondbacks recorded 52 wins on the season and remain one of only three teams playing about .600 baseball. That’s good enough for Lovullo.
Despite dropping the initial two games of this important set here in Dodger Stadium, Lovullo pointed out to Venom Strikes that losing to Clayton Kershaw and Alex Wood, each buy one run, will not diminish the drive and determination of his team. To the contrary, Lovullo indicated that his experience as a minor-league manager and then as bench coach to John Farrell in Boston shows that teams which win develop a creative and resilient posture.
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To that end, Lovullo showed little concern for the fact the Diamondbacks have dropped recent series to the St. Louis Cardinals and the now the Dodgers. At the same time, Lovullo reminded Venom Strikes, “we did take a series from the (Colorado) Rockies.”
"“There are up and downs during the course of the season and were enduing those,” he said. “No, I’m not in a position right now to discuss the first half. We still have a few games left and right now, we’re focusing on playing the Dodgers (Thursday). Maybe during the All-Star break, I’ll sit down and think about the first half.”"
While Lovullo emphasizes one game at a time, there is also an larger question. It’s clearly evident that teams need to string wins together and gain separation from teams below in the standings. At the same time, Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts told Venom Strikes before Thursday’s game that addressing immediate opponents is imperative.
"“It’s tough to win when you don’t well within your division,” he said. “We play the other teams 18, 19 times, and these are the clubs you need to beat to have success in the division.”"
Coming into Thursday’s game, the Dodgers have taken five of the first nine games with the Diamondbacks and these teams have 10 games remaining, including Thursday night in Dodger Stadium. After Thursday, the teams play six in Chase Field and three more at Dodger Stadium in early September.
Before Thursday’s game, the Diamondbacks paced righthander Rubby De La Rosa, with right shoulder inflammation, on the 10-day disabled list.
In a corresponding move, reliever Jake Barrett was recalled from Triple-A Reno. Barrett came to spring training with shoulder issues, and struggled through the early part of the season. Through rehabbing periods with Advanced A Visalia and Reno, Barrett slowly regained his health. In Reno, Barrett was 2-0, three saves and a 5.68 ERA in 18 appearances. Last season in 68 games with the Diamondbacks, Barrett was 1-2 and a solid 3.49 ERA.
De La Rosa was 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA (3 ER in 5.0 IP) in six games with Arizona this season.
With words of praises and tribute, the Dodgers, as expected, reacted as to the vote of the people.
Against four others in the fans’ Final Vote for spot on the National League All-Star roster, the lobbying effort for L. A. infielder Justin Turner was intense. Since the Dodgers returned home from San Diego last weekend, the first two games of the current Diamondbacks series was a constant crescendo of “vote JT.”
During the opening two contests of this set, Dodger fans in the house were busy locking into social media and voting for Turner then paying attention to play on the diamond.
When the vote was finalized by the Thursday afternoon deadline, Turner gathered in more nearly 21 million votes and beat out Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs for the Final Vote as decided by the fans.
Before Thursday’s game, L. A. Manager Dave Roberts told Venom Strikes that Turner’s ascendency to the NL squad was a tribute to his play on the field and in the community.
"“Justin does so much off the field and it seems he’s always visiting hospitals,” he said. “He received a record vote and that’s a tribute to Justin and the fans’ support.”"
Coming into Thursday’s game with the Diamondbacks, Turner was hitting .384 with 17 doubles. Eight homers and 33 RBIs.
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Turner was the National League selection, and joins Mike Moustakes of the Kansas City Royals in gathering in the fans’ Final Vote and spot in Miami.