Lovullo wants D-backs' 'best days' amid NL Wild Card race

September 16th, 2023

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Fresh off losing the last three games of a four-game set in New York, the D-backs returned home late Thursday night and gathered in the clubhouse before Friday night’s opener of a three-game series against the Cubs. 

D-backs manager Torey Lovullo had a simple message for his team. 

“I just asked these guys for their 14 best days,” Lovullo said. 

So far so good. The D-backs beat the Cubs, 6-4, on Friday night, and Arizona (77-72) has the same record as the Reds (although Cincinnati holds the tiebreaker) and is a half-game ahead of the Marlins and a game ahead of the Giants in the race for the final National League Wild Card spot

Now, Lovullo wants his team’s 13 best days. 

The D-backs have two more games against the Cubs, starting Saturday, before hosting the Giants for two games that will determine which team holds the head-to-head tiebreaker. Currently, San Francisco holds it with a 6-5 record against the D-backs, but an Arizona sweep would flip the advantage. 

After that, the D-backs hit the road for three games against the Yankees in New York and three against the White Sox in Chicago.  

Their final three games of the season are at home against the Astros.

“If you can commit to giving your 14 best days and, at the end of that 14 days, you’ve done that then we’ll see where it lands,” Lovullo said. “This team has been resilient. They've grown, they've learned. They’ve loved, they've laughed and they're fighting every single day. And I like those ingredients, so we'll see how it goes. It's going to be a great run.” 

The D-backs have a young core of players, and this is their first real taste of a pennant race. So Lovullo has been paying close attention to see how they are handling things. 

“You see all the young kids smiling, and you see everybody with a really nice demeanor,” Lovullo said. “Their routines have not changed. The games are still being played in the clubhouse. The young guys, specifically, are growing up and they need to, and this is a great environment for them to grow up in.

"We expect to win a lot of baseball games here for many years to come, and this is just laying the groundwork for what those expectations are and what they need to learn as you're grinding through some late-September baseball games.”