Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo sticking to his process despite recent missteps

Despite some managerial backfires, Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo remains confident in his decision-making process.

Thinking back on the moves that haven’t gone his way in recent games, Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo quoted one of his managing mentors, Sparky Anderson, when answering questions from reporters on Saturday.

“Managers don’t get stupid overnight,” Lovullo said. “I know that everybody that’s been in this seat has had the same feeling.”

Entering Saturday, Lovullo was in a sort of a managerial slump. After months of having most of his moves turn out for the best, he’s watched as a series of important decisions have backfired.

The most recent came on Friday night, when he stuck with starting pitcher Taijuan Walker only to watch as the Cubs hit back-to-back homers to open the sixth inning, distancing themselves from the Diamondbacks in a game they would go on to win 8-3.

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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo (not pictured) left starter Taijuan Walker in to start the sixth inning on Friday night, a decision that backfired when Walker immediately allowed back-to-back home runs. (Photo: Ross D. Franklin/AP)

The way Lovullo sees it, his recent string of bad luck is nothing more than baseball showing its fickle nature.

“I feel like at times I may deviate from the process and what I believe in, but I’ve basically been doing the same things and have gotten good and bad results,” Lovullo said. “It’s just part of the game and part of what happens during a baseball season.”

General Manager Mike Hazen sees it the same way. He said he and Lovullo “huddle up” after every game, talking through strategies and decisions, and he believes his manager’s process is sound. But that doesn’t mean every single decision is going to go their way.

“I believe if you make those decisions consistently over the course of the season, it’s going to work out way more than it doesn’t,” Hazen said. “We try not to get too wrapped up in any one particular period of time where things seem to go in the other direction.

“I think in some of these games where the decision is magnified in the bullpen, we can circle back to other aspects of our game, whether it’s offense or otherwise, where the game shouldn’t even have been in those situations.”

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"I know I've done a variety of things," Torey Lovullo (right) said. "... But it's what I'm feeling and what I believe in at the moment." (Photo: David Kadlubowski/azcentral sports)

By and large, Lovullo’s backfires have stemmed from a desire to get as much as he can from his starting pitchers. He generally asks them to give the team “21 outs,” a mantra he said stems from conversations he had with friend and former Toronto Blue Jays All-Star Pat Hentgen.

“He said his objective was 21 outs,” Lovullo said. “ ‘I didn’t want to win a game. I wanted to do my job for 21 outs.’ It’s not unreasonable to ask for. It’s something that, if you’re pitching efficiently and pitching the way you can, you’re going to get 21 outs. That’s a marker in my mind. It’s something I want our pitchers to strive for.”

The Diamondbacks view it as the backbone to a healthy pitching staff, with a productive rotation leading to a rested and effective bullpen. Hazen said the team tries to give everyone in the rotation extra days of rest in part so it can comfortably ask starters to go deeper in games, and he said they’re careful to stay away from relievers with recent heavy workloads.

“That’s part of playing the long game through the season,” Hazen said.

Lovullo on Saturday didn’t sound like a manager going through a crisis of confidence. He still believes the practices he’s demonstrated throughout the year will bear fruit in the end.

“I know I’ve done a variety of things,” he said. “I’ve pulled guys early; I’ve let guys go too long. But it’s what I’m feeling and what I believe in at the moment. You know, you live and learn.”

 

 

 

Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or nick.piecoro@arizonarepublic.com. Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.

diamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 3 Chicago Cubs' Javier Baez, left, is tagged out by Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Jeff Mathis while trying to score from third base on an infield ground ball by teammate Albert Almora Jr. during the fifth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)  Ralph Freso, APdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 4 Chicago Cubs' Javier Baez, left, reaches for the plate as he is tagged out by Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Jeff Mathis while trying to score from third base on an infield ground ball by teammate Albert Almora Jr. during the fifth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Phoenix. The call was upheld by replay after the Cubs challenged the play. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)  Ralph Freso, APdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 5 Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo, center, laughs as he talks with teammates before a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Phoenix.  The Associated Pressdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 6 Arizona Diamondbacks' Patrick Corbin throws a pitch against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Phoenix.  The Associated Pressdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 7 Arizona Diamondbacks' Patrick Corbin throws a pitch against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Phoenix.  The Associated Pressdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 8 Chicago Cubs' Jon Lester throws a pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Phoenix.  The Associated Pressdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 9 Chicago Cubs' Jon Lester throws a pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Phoenix.  The Associated Pressdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 10 Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Ketel Marte, left, cannot make the catch of a throw from Diamondbacks second baseman Brandon Drury to force out Chicago Cubs' Kris Bryant (17) on a ground ball hit by Cub's Anthony Rizzo during the first inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Phoenix.  The Associated Pressdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 11 Arizona Diamondbacks' Ketel Marte (4) reacts while up to bat during the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.  Loren Townsley/azcentral sportsdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 12 Chicago Cubs' Javier Baez (9) celebrates with Jon Jay (30) after scoring a run during the eighth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.  Loren Townsley/azcentral sportsdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 13 The Chicago Cubs celebrate after beating the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.  Loren Townsley/azcentral sportsdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 14 Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Taijuan Walker (99) prepares to throw the ball during the second inning against the Chicago Cubs on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.  Loren Townsley/azcentral sportsdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 15 Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Taijuan Walker (99) throws the ball during the second inning against the Chicago Cubs on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.  Loren Townsley/azcentral sportsdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 16 Arizona Diamondbacks' Paul Goldschmidt (44) gets Chicago Cubs' John Lackey (41) out at first base in the second inning on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.  Loren Townsley/azcentral sportsdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 17 Arizona Diamondbacks' Daniel Descalso (3) gets Chicago Cubs' Alex Avila (13) out during the third inning on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.  Loren Townsley/azcentral sportsdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 18 Arizona Diamondbacks' Daniel Descalso (3) catches a fly ball during the third inning against the Chicago Cubs on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.  Loren Townsley/azcentral sportsdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 19 Arizona Diamondbacks' Paul Goldschmidt (44) is congratulated by Tony Perezchica (1) as he runs past third base during the sixth inning against the Chicago Cubs on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.  Loren Townsley/azcentral sportsdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 20 Arizona Diamondbacks' J.D. Martinez (28) gets tagged out by Chicago Cubs' Javier Baez (9) during the sixth inning on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.  Loren Townsley/azcentral sportsdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 21 The Chicago Cubs celebrate after beating the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.  Loren Townsley/azcentral sportsdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 22 Chicago Cubs Jon Jay (30) scores a run in the second inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.  Loren Townsley/azcentral sportsdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 23 Arizona Diamondbacks J.D. Martinez (28) runs towards first base in the third inning against the Chicago Cubs on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.  Loren Townsley/azcentral sportsdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 24 Chicago Cubs Kris Bryant (17) gets hit by the ball in the fourth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.  Loren Townsley/azcentral sportsdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 25 After finishing pitching in the fifth inning, Chicago Cubs' John Lackey wipes his face, having given up a two-run home run to Arizona Diamondbacks' David Peralta, during a baseball game Friday, Aug 11, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)  Ross D. Franklin, APdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 26 Arizona Diamondbacks' Chris Herrmann (10) beats out an infield hit as Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo (44) gets ready to catch a late throw during the fifth inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug 11, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)  Ross D. Franklin, APdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 27 Cubs baserunner Jon Jay scores a run in the second inning against the Diamondbacks on Friday.  Loren Townsley/azcentral sportsdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 28 Arizona Diamondbacks J.D. Martinez (28) runs towards first base in the third inning against the Chicago Cubs on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.  Loren Townsley/ The Republicdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 29 Arizona Diamondbacks Paul Goldschmidt (44) gets Chicago Cubs John Lackey (41) out at first base in the second inning on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.  Loren Townsley/ The Republicdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 30 Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Taijuan Walker (99) prepares to throw the ball during the second inning against the Chicago Cubs on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.  Loren Townsley/ The Republicdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 31 Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Taijuan Walker (99) throws the ball during the second inning against the Chicago Cubs on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.  Loren Townsley/ The Republicdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 32 Arizona Diamondbacks Daniel Descalso (3) gets Chicago Cubs Alex Avila (13) out during the third inning on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.  Loren Townsley/ The Republicdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 33 Arizona Diamondbacks Daniel Descalso (3) catches a fly ball during the third inning against the Chicago Cubs on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.  Loren Townsley/ The Republicdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 34 Arizona Diamondbacks David Peralta (6) and Chris Herrmann (10) celebrate with A.J. Pollock (11) after scoring runs in fifth inning against the Chicago Cubs on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.  Loren Townsley/ The Republicdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 35 Chicago Cubs Kris Bryant (17) gets hit by the ball in the fourth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.  Loren Townsley/ The Republicdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 36 Arizona Diamondbacks Paul Goldschmidt (44) is congratulated by Tony Perezchica (1) as he runs towards third base during the sixth inning against the Chicago Cubs on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.  Loren Townsley/ The Republicdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 37 Arizona Diamondbacks' Taijuan Walker throws a pitch against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug 11, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)  Ross D. Franklin, APdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 38 Chicago Cubs' John Lackey throws a pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug 11, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)  Ross D. Franklin, APdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 39 Chicago Cubs' Ben Zobrist (18) celebrates his run scored on a passed ball with Jason Heyward (22) during the first inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Friday, Aug 11, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)  Ross D. Franklin, APdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 40 Arizona Diamondbacks' Chris Herrmann, second from right, allows a passed ball on a pitch as Chicago Cubs' Jason Heyward, left, holds his swing and umpire Mike Muchlinski, right, looks on during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug 11, 2017, in Phoenix. The Cubs scored a run on the play. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)  Ross D. Franklin, APdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 41 Chicago Cubs' Kris Bryant, center, scores a run on a bases-loaded walk issued by Arizona Diamondbacks' Taijuan Walker, left, during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug 11, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)  Ross D. Franklin, APdiamondbacks-manager-torey-lovullo-sticking-to-his-process-despite-recent-missteps photo 42 Arizona Diamondbacks' Taijuan Walker pauses on the mound after giving up two runs to the Chicago Cubs during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug 11, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)  Ross D. Franklin, AP

Sunday's game

Cubs at Diamondbacks

When: 1:10 p.m.

Where: Chase Field (Roof hotline: 602-462-6262).

Pitchers: Diamondbacks RHP Zack Godley (5-4, 2.94) vs. Cubs RHP Jake Arrieta (11-8, 3.83).

TV/Radio: FSAZ, FSAZ+/KMVP-FM (98.7), KHOV-FM (105.1).

Godley gave up three runs in 6 2/3 innings against the Dodgers on Tuesday, his third consecutive quality start. … He faced the Cubs last week on Aug. 2 at Wrigley Field and threw six scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out five. … Godley is holding opponents to a .222 average with runners in scoring position. … Arrieta has been on a roll since the start of July, logging a 2.18 ERA in seven starts spanning 45 1/3 innings. … He gave up three runs (two earned) in a start against the Giants at AT&T Park on Monday. … He matched up against Godley on Aug. 2 and threw well, giving up two runs (one earned) in seven innings but took the loss.

Coming up

Monday: At Chase Field, 6:40 p.m., Diamondbacks RHP Zack Greinke (13-5, 3.14) vs. Astros RHP Collin McHugh (0-1, 5.32).

Tuesday: At Chase Field, 12:40 p.m., Diamondbacks LHP Anthony Banda (1-2, 4.60) vs. Astros RHP Brad Peacock (10-1, 3.07).

Wednesday: At Houston, 5:10 p.m., Diamondbacks RHP Taijuan Walker (6-6, 3.76) vs. Astros RHP Charlie Morton (9-5, 3.83).

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