D-backs eager to move forward after painful loss
PHOENIX -- When the sun came up Friday morning in Phoenix -- as it never fails to do (curse you, sun) -- the Diamondbacks still found themselves with the third-best record in the major leagues and the best 86-game record (52-34) in franchise history.
As tempting as it might have been to feel all doom-and-gloomy about three consecutive one-run losses to the NL West-leading Dodgers in Los Angeles -- especially Thursday night's meltdown in which the Dodgers rallied for four in the ninth off Fernando Rodney -- manager Torey Lovullo said the D-backs were having none of it.
Whatever frustration and anger that was an immediate result of Thursday's loss had vanished with the revolution of the earth.
"Last night when I walked through I know that guys were spitting mad," Lovullo said before Friday night's game vs. the Cincinnati Reds. "I feel like that was justified. If it didn't bother you, you don't love this game enough. That's what I was thinking about last night. It bothered me because I care.
"But this game moves quickly, it's every day, and the mood in that clubhouse is light, it's consistent with what it's been all year long. It's been exactly what I expected it to be. These guys are ready for today."
Lovullo said he felt no need to address the team after Thursday's loss.
"I could tell quickly that the guys were very frustrated. For me to have to go out and say something in front of them, it's just really not my style," he said.
"For me to say something would have been piling on. They didn't need to hear it from me because I could tell exactly what was on their mind. They were going to have to figure out how to digest and move on and get ready for today."
Even after less than 24 hours to reflect on what was clearly the season's most painful loss, Lovullo was able to focus on the forest through the trees.
"I want to choose my words carefully here, because I don't want to seem like I'm an idiot making predictions, but I really felt like we played head to head with those guys in a tough environment that was a playoff atmosphere," he said. "Even though we didn't win the games, which stinks, I think we grew up, and are prepared a little bit more because of what happened those past three days."
When asked about the level of his confidence in Rodney as his closer moving forward, Lovullo said: "Just the same as it has been. Fernando's going to be our closer. It's very tough role to be in, it's like the field goal kicker, you don't know hes there until he misses that kick with no time left on the clock."
Rodney had a streak of 20 consecutive appearances without giving up an earned run from May 1 through July 1, giving up a total of two hits in 19 1/3 innings, but he's given up five hits and five runs in his past two appearances.
"Fernando has been on some tremendous runs for us," Lovullo said. "He's had some clunkers in the past, all closers have. It's how he rebounds and comes out today, or the next save opportunity. I've said all along we can't get to where we want to get to without Fernando Rodney.
"He has taken that ninth inning as his personal challenge, and he's allowed younger pitchers below him to perform. I believe in Fernando Rodney, and he's going to get the ball again."