Mantiply turns 90-second warmup into 11-pitch save

May 9th, 2024

CINCINNATI -- As right-hander Kevin Ginkel began to struggle in the ninth inning of Wednesday night’s 4-3 win at Great American Ball Park, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo looked at his lineup card.

The Reds trailed by two runs and had runners at first and second with one out, and Ginkel, who had performed admirably filling in for injured closer Paul Sewald, was uncharacteristically having some trouble.

Lovullo’s card told him a couple of things. One, Sewald was not available after making his first appearance in 2024 the night before and two, the Reds had just two players left on the bench -- Will Benson and Conner Capel, both left-handed hitters.

When Ginkel missed with his first pitch to TJ Friedl, Lovullo told pitching coach Brent Strom to get lefty ready.

Mantiply had gotten loose in the eighth inning in case he was needed. When he wasn’t used and Ginkel started warming up to close things out, Mantiply could have checked out for the night.

But Mantiply had been down that road before, and he knew that in this game, you could never count on things. So he stayed engaged with what was going on. He also was aware of what the Cincinnati bench looked like, so when the bullpen phone rang, he knew it was for him.

“Just trying to stay mentally locked in,” Mantiply said. “Obviously hoping Gink gets through that, but trying to be ready if I’m needed.”

Mantiply immediately began throwing, but then Friedl singled to right to score a run and put the tying run on third with one out.

Reds manager David Bell sent Benson up to hit for the right-handed Luke Maile. The D-backs at that point were out of mound visits, so the only way Lovullo could stall for a little bit of time was to make the walk from the dugout to the pitcher’s mound as slowly as possible.

“Joe does a great job,” Lovullo said. “What he did for us was unbelievable, and one of the major reasons why we won this game. We had about a minute and a half from the time the call went down there to when he said he was ready. That's uncommon.”

Mantiply usually doesn’t take long to get ready, but he was helped by the fact that he had fully warmed up the inning before.

“It probably only took me five [pitches],” Mantiply said of what he needed to be ready. “The humidity helps, for sure. I threw my normal routine earlier, 14 or 15 [pitches]. As soon as the phone rang, I started throwing, pretty much. I knew I got some [more] pitches out on the field. I felt ready.”

Mantiply faced a tall order with the tying run at third and, after Friedl stole, the winning run at second.

After missing with a curveball, Mantiply got a called strike and a foul ball on a pair of sinkers. He missed with another curveball but finally got Benson to strike out when he couldn’t check his swing on a curveball below the zone.

“I really wanted to try to get a strikeout right there,” Mantiply said. “I felt like that was the best pitch to throw.”

Mantiply still wasn’t out of the woods yet, though, with the right-handed hitting Jonathan India coming to the plate.

The pair battled to a 3-2 count through five pitches before Mantiply got India to fly out to right to end the game, the D-backs’ third win in a row and a welcome relief for Mantiply, who didn’t have the greatest of springs, but has now allowed just one run over his past 7 1/3 innings.

“I didn’t really feel my best coming through Spring Training,” Mantiply said. “But I’ve definitely been working my butt off and the last couple of weeks I’ve been feeling a lot better. I just want to try to carry this momentum forward and do what I can to be a part of this team winning.”