Lovullo reflects on decision to let Walker hit

Lovullo reflects on decision to let Walker hit

ATLANTA -- D-backs fans on Twitter expressed dismay with manager Torey Lovullo's decision to let starting pitcher Taijuan Walker hit with one out and the bases loaded in the sixth inning Friday night during a 4-3 loss to the Braves, especially after the move backfired and Walker hit into an inning-ending double play.

Rest assured, though, no one took the decision's outcome harder than Lovullo.

"I've thought about last night probably 5,000 times," Lovullo said prior to batting practice Saturday. "It's difficult. It's hard. You want to make the right decision and sometimes you don't. It obviously was a part of the game that was very, very important and [it didn't] go the way we wanted it to. If we could replay it, redo it again, I might choose a different path.

"The game is like a puzzle to me, and you're piecing it together one moment at a time and I'm always trying to do what's best for the moment. It didn't work out, and we ended up losing the game. I thought about it all night long and I woke up thinking about it today."

Speaking of last night
Left fielder Gregor Blanco lobbed the ball into second base on a crucial play on Friday night, allowing Brandon Phillips to score even though he slipped coming around third base. After watching the replay Saturday, Lovullo agreed with outfield coach Dave McKay about what should have happened -- the ball should have been thrown to cutoff man Jake Lamb.

Braves score two on a wild play

"I think what we talk about with our outfielders is to pick up the ball and drive throws through the cutoff man," Lovullo said. "I know that will be addressed and talked about with all our outfielders and not just Gregor. It's a good reminder of how you play the game and why you play the game the right way. A crisp throw to the right place would have prevented that. It's a learning experience and we'll learn it as a moment to go out and teach. I think attacking the ball the right way and coming in and throwing the ball to Jake would have been the right play."

Upcoming rotation
The D-backs announced left-hander Robbie Ray and right-hander Zack Greinke will start the first two games of the upcoming series with the Reds.

Ray and Greinke were slotted at the back end of the rotation after the break since both were selected for the All-Star Game. Greinke threw one inning while Ray was held back as a long reliever in case the game went long, and Ray did not pitch.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.