D-backs turning the page on Game 1 loss

Lovullo has no regrets following already-flushed walk-off defeat

October 28th, 2023

ARLINGTON -- Torey Lovullo turned the page to Game 2 long before arriving at Globe Life Field on Saturday afternoon, but that didn't stop the D-backs' manager from shedding some light on the biggest moments from the 2023 World Series opener.

Speaking to the media less than 16 hours after a crushing 6-5 walk-off loss to the Rangers in Game 1, Lovullo pulled back the curtain on Arizona's late-game approach against Corey Seager and Adolis García.

The main question on the mind of many D-backs fans centered around the decision for Miguel Castro to attack García in the 11th inning, particularly on a 3-1 pitch that resulted in a walk-off home run.

Was there any thought to simply putting García on with one out, nobody on base and Mitch Garver and Austin Hedges due up next?

"Not particularly," Lovullo said. "You don't think that a World Series in the bottom of the [11th] inning is going to end in a walk-off home run. I do have to think worst-case scenarios a lot of time, but I was thinking a base hit, walk -- not necessarily a home run."

So what was the vision when Lovullo brought in Castro to face García?

"Well, we definitely had a plan; it wasn't executed perfectly," Lovullo said. "There were some balls that were thrown in the wrong space, maybe the wrong type of pitch. ... I think it was just a misfired ball in a honey hole. And we've got to be better."

The pitch Lovullo was referencing was a 96.7 mph sinker over the middle of the plate in a 3-1 count against the red-hot, free-swinging García.

It's safe to say that was not the intention.

"I don't want to give away the pitching strategy," Lovullo said. "But it wasn't supposed to be a middle-middle pitch, for sure -- no way, no way."

While Lovullo tipped his cap to both Seager -- who hit a game-tying two-run homer off closer Paul Sewald in the bottom of the ninth -- and García, he stopped short of saying the D-backs would take a different approach moving forward in the World Series.

The benefit of hindsight makes it easy to say Arizona should have pitched around two of Texas' top sluggers, but Lovullo is more focused on executing the plan, not overhauling it.

"Of course, today, I could sit here knowing what the outcome was [and say] we should have -- and we should have done the same thing to Seager," Lovullo said. "But you don't think that's going to happen. It's a hard thing to do to hit a baseball traveling at 96, 97 mph that's got some good run on it. If we place the ball where we're supposed to, we're going to have probably a much better result.

"Do I have a regret? Like I said last night, I was thinking through it with a very clear head. I had a lot of good conversations with the staff around me, and not one person said we should pitch around him and put him on."

As for his message to Sewald and Castro, Lovullo kept it short and sweet following the game -- and he doesn't anticipate the need for any follow-ups prior to Game 2.

"Nothing today unless somebody wants to engage me," Lovullo said. "Because I feel like we've all turned the page and flushed it, and we've got to be ready for this next challenge."