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WC Game unfamiliar territory for Lovullo

D-backs manager seeks advice from longtime Giants skipper Bochy
MLB.com @boomskie

PHOENIX -- Torey Lovullo, meet Bruce Bochy.

Dress for October: Buy D-backs postseason gear

PHOENIX -- Torey Lovullo, meet Bruce Bochy.

Dress for October: Buy D-backs postseason gear

When the first-year D-backs skipper sought advice on how to approach Wednesday night's National League Wild Card Game at Chase Field, who else would be better to talk to than the longtime Giants manager?

"I've thought about that," Lovullo said. "But I don't even think he knows my name. He's a tremendous resource for me. I would be foolish if I didn't reach out to him."

2017 Postseason schedule 

Bochy laughed when apprised of Lovullo's comment and the two talked Wednesday before the D-backs came back to beat the Giants, 4-3, with three runs in the bottom of the ninth. Bochy's Giants won two of the first five NL Wild Card Games.

As is their ethos, Lovullo and the D-backs' Boston-based baseball ops are putting out the net to gather as much information as possible on how to build a 25-man roster and prepare for the big game, which at this moment looks like it will be against the Rockies.

Video: Must C Clinch: D-backs clinch postseason berth

The former Red Sox guys are used to winning the American League East and going right to a Division Series. In the five-year history of the Wild Card Game, the Red Sox haven't played in one.

The D-backs haven't either. In their five previous trips to the postseason, including a 2001 World Series victory in seven games over the Yankees, the D-backs won the NL West.

"What we're talking about and walking through right now is so new to all of us," Lovullo said. "We're throwing things out at one another, trying to figure things out as a staff. It's confusing to us right now."

The Giants, in contrast, won Wild Card Games in 2014 and '16 and the World Series three times since 2010. Bochy took over the club in 2007 after 12 seasons managing the Padres.

There was a common denominator to both of those Wild Card Games, Bochy told Lovullo.

"Two words: Madison Bumgarner," Bochy said. "When you have a pitcher like Bumgarner you don't have to worry about much of anything else. We were fortunate that he threw two beautiful games to help us."

Video: Bumgarner pitches his second Wild Card shutout

The left-hander dominated the Pirates and Mets respectively, pitching a pair of complete-game shutouts, allowing four hits in each game. While there will be no late trade sending Bumgarner to Arizona, the D-backs will have their ace, right-hander Zack Greinke, ready for the big game.

Greinke is no Bumgarner, no pitcher is heading into this postseason. Bumgarner is 4-0 with an 0.25 ERA (one earned run) in five World Series appearances, including a critical five-inning save in Game 7 over the Royals in 2014.

"For my money, he's the best postseason pitcher ever," Bochy said. "If I had to give the ball to one pitcher in a critical game, no doubt it would be him."

It's hard to argue.

Video: Leader Watch: Greinke's chances in NL Cy Young race

Greinke is 3-3 with a 3.55 ERA in nine postseason appearances, all starts. He's never pitched in a Wild Card or World Series game. Saying all that, Greinke finished 13-1 with a 2.87 ERA in 18 starts at home in The Bank this season.

This is the reason the D-backs signed him as a free agent for six years, at $206.5 million: He's the pitcher they want on the mound on Wednesday.

Though the D-backs haven't officially named Greinke as the starter, Lovullo acknowledged it's all heading in that direction. To set it up, Greinke was shifted from his normal slot Wednesday to a Friday night start against the Royals in Kansas City.

That way, he'll be back in a five-day cycle, pitching in the Wild Card Game and then perhaps again against the Dodgers on Oct. 9 in Game 3 of a possible NL Division Series if the D-backs get that far.

"I mean, you guys are smart and you count, and I know you know what's going on," Lovullo said. "You guys can work things backwards as good as anybody. We haven't quite said it 100 percent and that's because we want to see how Zack gets through his start on Friday."

Putting together a roster for a Wild Card Game really is not that complicated. There's no need to carry more than nine or 10 pitchers, including one or two backup starters. Considering the starting eight position players, that gives a club the flexibility to carry as many as eight bench players.

The team then reverts to a regular-season 25-man roster when it resets for the NLDS.

Bochy evidently told Lovullo not to overthink the entire process.

"You have the one game and you let it all hang out there on the field," Bochy said. "It's all you can do. There's no secret to it."

And there's no challenge to setting the roster.

"Not really," Bochy said. "It's going to be a little bit different than a longer series. It's important to have one or two starters available. You never know what's going to happen. Extra innings. It's nice to have and not need rather than need and not have."

Lovullo said he devoured all the information Bochy gave him. And he plans to make contact with Royals manager Ned Yost at Kaufmann Stadium this weekend. Yost's club won an epic American League Wild Card Game over the A's in 2014 on the way to losing the World Series to the Giants.

Despite Lovullo's six-year tenure in Boston and Toronto as bench coach under manager John Farrell, Lovullo said he doesn't personally know Yost, either.

Ned Yost, meet Torey Lovullo.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter.

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