Inbox: Will rotation be altered down stretch?

Beat reporter Steve Gilbert answers questions from D-backs fans

August 20th, 2018

Some of our starters -- Robbie Ray, -- have hit a rough patch recently. Do you think there will be September callups that could help the starting rotation?
-- Bob, Oro Valley, Ariz.

Sunday, I wrote about how the team will likely tweak the rotation order this week with the two off-days in terms of setting up some matchups over the next 10 days. That being said, I don't think you will see any changes to the rotation even when we hit September. What I do think you'll see is that the D-backs will call up a handful of pitchers who will be used in the bullpen and will give manager Torey Lovullo even more flexibility to be aggressive in terms of getting starters out earlier in games if they are struggling on a particular day.
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Aside from Chris Owings, who do you expect the September callups will be?
-- Ashley, Tucson, Ariz.

When a team is in the postseason chase like the D-backs are, there is a real balancing act when it comes to September callups. On the one hand, if there's a player who can help in even one particular area (ex: speed to pinch-run late in a tie game), you want to have that player available because every game is so critical. On the other hand, you don't want to have too many guys in the clubhouse for those last few weeks of games -- especially if they're not going to be used. I think that's the fine line the D-backs will need to walk.
Should be getting every start against a right-handed pitcher heading into the last month of the season with the playoffs on the line? And how will the outfield rotation play out going down the stretch when the team is trying to play its best eight every day?
-- Bryan, El Paso, Texas

Descalso has done a great job for the D-backs all year long. It seems like he's come up with some key hits at big moments for them. I think he will continue to get a decent number of at-bats down the stretch, but I don't think it will be every start against a right-handed pitcher. At Descalso's two main positions you have switch-hitters who have been productive, as well, in and .
As for the outfield, Lovullo has said that as it gets closer to the end of this month, his focus will be on having more of a set lineup rather than getting guys rest. Throughout the year, Lovullo has focused on getting guys a day off on a regular basis to keep them fresh in order for them to be able to handle more of a workload right now. My guess is that will cut into the playing of a little bit, but I still think he'll get some starts.