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October 9, 2017

Torey Lovullo

Phoenix, Arizona - pregame 3

Q. Same lineup as Wednesday, I believe?

Q. Just kind of take us through obviously Darvish throws a lot of different pitches, and you've seen your team against him before, you like those match-ups?
TOREY LOVULLO: Yeah, I thought this was, in my mind, the best team against a right-handed pitcher, such as Darvish, that was going to go out and be able to execute a game plan. They complement one another.

I feel like this group, the whole team does, but this group in particular links things together very, very well, and I thought it was the best chance for us to score runs.

It's a tough environment right now. We know what we're faced up with. And I know these guys are ready to link things together and go out and perform. I like this group of eight hitters plus Zack to go out and do what they know how to do.

Q. With Ketel, I think Ketel's hitting second today, you like him, the lefty-righty against Yu, it's good to get that lefty up top of the order?
TOREY LOVULLO: What was the last part of that? The lefty?

Q. Immediately against a right-handed pitcher early.
TOREY LOVULLO: Yeah, look, Yu Darvish has very, very effective pitches. He, at times, has a wipeout slider. I pay attention to the numbers and the match-ups and probabilities. And I know that left-handers happen to see him a little bit better, so I wanted to balance the lineup out with some left-handed hitters.

But this wasn't any mystery. This lineup has been playing against pretty much every right-handed pitcher down the stretch. Marte's been having a tremendous postseason. I like him hitting second for a couple of reasons, and he's had a good run. He's been swinging the bat right-handed as well as he has left-handed. He's a special player.

Q. Can you just talk about the emotion of having another win-or-go-home game within five days of the last one on Wednesday?
TOREY LOVULLO: Yeah, it's not exactly how you want to draw it up, but you know at some point this is postseason baseball and you're going to be faced up with something like this.

So I think we're battle tested. We've walked through this situation before. We've played an all-in game on Wednesday. So our guys are going to have experience in that area.

For me, sometimes experience can help walk you through situations that, you know, are not favorable. But what I've talked about is just making sure these guys take care of today and take care of right now, and we'll be in good hands tomorrow if we get there.

We are pressure junkies. That's how we're raised in this game. We like to have this type of a feel where you've got to perform and face the facts that we need to perform today. So these guys are prepared for that, and I think they'll enjoy it.

Q. Did you have any words of wisdom for your team, or is it at the point of the season where there really isn't anything much more to say? They know what they have to do?
TOREY LOVULLO: You know, nothing that I can say right now is going to change the mindset of that team. They're a special group of guys, and I know that they probably pick up on some of the things that I'm saying up here. I don't know what I'm going to say. I'm just answering questions, and it's all real things that I'm feeling and my emotion and what I believe in.

So I know that they're probably listening to what I'm saying. I don't like to communicate that way, through the media, but sometimes it's hard to say as much as you want to say to the guys. The fact they're picking up on my vibe through you guys is enough for me.

For me to get in front of these guys and say some things probably would be counterproductive for me at this point. They know how I feel. I feel the same way they do. I think we all feel that we need to go out and perform and do what we did all year long and play Arizona Diamondback baseball.

I didn't have any words of wisdom other than believing in each other, staying together, honoring one another and linking things together like a family does, and we're going to be just fine.

Q. Will Taijuan be available in the bullpen if needed today? I know it's kind of like an all-hands-on-deck type situation.
TOREY LOVULLO: Everybody's available today. Everybody. We've got three Wild Card Games in a row, and that's how we're looking at it. There's going to be no situation where we can play baseball tomorrow if we don't win today.

So we're going to leave it wide open and tee it up as high as we possibly can and let it rip.

Q. What do you think was going on with your guys' inability to control the running game the other night, and what can you guys do better tonight?
TOREY LOVULLO: Well, sometimes you've got to pick your battles. Maybe at times choose the lesser of two evils. We were aware with a man at second base in certain situations they were going to be running, and we were more focused on making pitches.

So give the Dodgers credit. They're versatile. They can attack in a lot of different ways. When you're playing the type of baseball they are from an ahead standpoint, you can take some chances and you can run into outs, and it's not going to be as devastating as it would if we were to when we're behind.

So I think the best thing we can do is get ahead, stay ahead, and kind of make them preserve their outs. But we've done a good job all year long of identifying the runners. Robby Hammock does a great job of controlling the running game from the bench. Our pitchers have bought in, catchers have thrown runners out. So we're going to continue to do the things that we have all year long.

But I think getting ahead might change their overall philosophy on being as aggressive as they have been on the bases.

Q. Starting pitchers have averaged only four innings in the playoffs so far, and I'm wondering whether this is a one-time thing or we're seeing a change in how starters are handled in the postseason where they hook it so short.
TOREY LOVULLO: Yeah, it's not a mystery. The common denominator for the success of our team was our starting pitching, and we haven't had two great outings. I thought Robby was just okay. But for Robby's standards and what he's done all year long, it wasn't a typical Robby moment, and we all know what happened in Game 1.

Yeah, we need our pitchers, our starting pitchers to step up, and we need them to do what they do best, and that's just being themselves. That's just going out and trying to be Zack Greinke tonight and take care of what he's done all year long. I couldn't think of a better candidate to be prepared and feel like all I've got to do is just be myself, Zack Greinke.

So hopefully that will get that line moving again from a starting pitcher -- yeah, from the starting pitcher side of things and see where things fall in from there.

Q. My question ends up being kind of a follow-up to that. I was going to ask you, you've talked about all year we know the starting pitching has been so good, and that's kind of becomes your identity where you set that tone. Given what's happened and it was just explained a little bit throughout the playoffs, but with your team, do you almost need to make sure the guys transition the identity if need be and be able to -- the Wild Card Game was like that, obviously. Do you feel confident that if it doesn't go as planned with Zack tonight or in the future games, if you get there, that you can win that other way, that other battling offensively?
TOREY LOVULLO: That's a very valid question because I think you get accustomed to winning a certain way, and that's been our theme. Starting pitching, defense, hand it off to the bullpen, with really timely hitting and an aggressive offense.

So I think we're pretty dynamic in a lot of ways that we can do different things at different times to preserve a win, to earn a win. Sometimes you've got to invent things.

We may have invented some things for the Wild Card Game, and I think that's going to be the case right now. But the first thing and the most important thing is to get that type of starting pitching that we've been accustomed to.

If it doesn't happen the way you want to, you go quickly to the drawing board and make some adjustments, and we're prepared for that. We're a team full of guys that are all in on a pretty impressive level, and I know they'll make the necessary adjustments and do what's asked for them and getting out of roles that they've maybe been in all year long.

Q. You guys have had a great season, but what is it about the way this team is designed that accentuates your production here at Chase Field?
TOREY LOVULLO: Well, I think it's a pretty offensive environment. We have players that are built for this type of ballpark, a lot of power. We have overall good team speed. I think we pressure pitchers once we get guys on the bases. And I think there's an overall remedy from an offensive standpoint that we're going to stand up there and slug it out with you, and it works very well at home.

I talked about early in the year that we were going to protect this home field, we were going to earn home-field advantage here and make teams feel the pressure of walking into this stadium. I know we won over 50 games at home, and we're very, very proud of that.

Q. Dave Roberts talked about how patient they've been at the plate with a couple notable exceptions. Have they been more patient than they were in the regular season, and how does Zack counter that philosophy?
TOREY LOVULLO: There's a period of time the L.A. Dodgers were the best team that I'd ever seen in mid-season. They were locked in and doing things very, very well from an offensive standpoint.

So I think they're equipped to and understand the importance of being patient and grinding out at-bats and handing it off to the next guy. So we respect that. We know that they're very, very capable of doing that.

And we're preparing for that moment. So I know Zack right now is coming up with his game plan. He's been working on his game plan for the past three or four days. And I don't want to give away any secrets. I know you guys asked Zack the same question yesterday, but I do know there is no better candidate to go out there and execute the proper game plan and find himself pitching as deep into the game as we need him to.

Zack will be up for this challenge.

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