Q: You don't seem to have nerves pretty much at all. How does your personality help you in a situation like this?
Greinke: I don't know. I did before last game, but I felt it helped, if anything. As long as you're not like overly nervous, it just gets you locked, like you're more focused and more locked in sometimes, and that's how I felt last game. As long as you're not like crazy nervous. But that doesn't happen very often. I've seen it a couple times with people, but it's pretty rare.
Q: Looking at the stats, the Dodgers chased fewer pitches than any team in baseball. What is the challenge of your style of pitching versus their style of hitting?
Greinke: Yeah, that's what it seemed like the first couple games too. They wait for a pitch to hit and then it's an ideal way of hitting. You just look for a pitch to hit. If you get it, you hit it as hard as you can. If it's not a pitch to hit, they take it. I mean, it's pretty simple, but it's harder to do than it sounds.
Q. Zack, how do you combat that, though?
Greinke: I feel like you guys are trying to get all my game plan tips before the game, and it sounds kind of silly for me to answer some of these questions.
Q. Approaching this game, down two games in the series, how do you mentally prepare?
Greinke: I don't know if I'm approaching it that much different. Just got to pitch as good as I can, and hopefully the results end up being good from that, but that's all I could do. If I do what I can and it works out, that's great. But if it doesn't, then, you know, you did everything you can, and that's just kind of how I do it.
Q: The Dodgers are a team that doesn't chase. That's obviously been a big thing the first couple of games. How do you combat that, especially when you're a guy like Zack that throws so many different kinds of pitches?
Lovullo: Well, I'm not going to speak for Zack, but I know he's had a tremendous year and he's followed a great game plan. So what he does in preparation, what everybody is doing right now to prepare for tomorrow, he's going to go out and probably execute the best game plan he possibly can.
So I know that's his mindset, and we've done a good job of that all year long. We're not going to change our recipe. We're not going to change what we've done well this year as a group or individually. I've said it several times this year: Zack's as good at attacking that game plan and executing it properly as any pitcher that I've ever been around. He's got a lot of weapons.
Q: Would you say that the results this series are not a lack of talent but of execution?
Lovullo: Well, I think that's really what this game comes down to every single night, is about execution. You dissect the game last night, and we did a couple things that were not typical of Arizona Diamondback baseball, and it cost us some runs, which ended up being the difference in the game. You can go to probably five or six different things that we didn't do right or didn't do well.
So that's what we're going to focus and concentrate on, is taking care of the execution in crucial moments and doing things the right way and then having a good game plan offensively. Like I just mentioned about Zack, having a good game plan on the mound, and we'll see where that lands us. This really is a game of execution. It's about who goes out and does their job to the best of their ability and gets the job done by executing the right way.
Q: Why the disappearance of Patrick Corbin? He hasn't started since September 24th. He's had only one relief appearance. What are your plans for him?
Lovullo: Well, we looked at Patrick as being a very versatile piece in this puzzle. We had him for length and coverage over the first couple games. He's prepared to go down to the bullpen, then we're planning on having him start Game 4.
That was part of our game plan all series long, and it's a credit to him for being that versatile that he was able to fill that role. In my conversation with the group as we were walking through some of the dynamics of the series, I felt like Game 4 was going to be the most crucial game of the series. So, you know, in projecting some of my thoughts, I'm sure you can think about the reasons why.
But we need to get to Game 4. We can't look beyond Game 3 before we get to Game 4. So he will be the starter in Game 4. If it goes that far, and I felt like it would be a very pivotal game. So there was some strategy there. His versatility was step one, and being able to step into Game 4 if needed, which would allow us to get to the final Game 5.
Q: Are you concerned that he's had so little work now in the last few games?
Lovullo: No, minimal concern. These guys had the game plan laid out to them, and it's hard for a pitcher to adjust and go back and forth from a bullpen to a starting mentality. I get that. But we're transparent with these players, and I think that he was able to understand what that role was, and then he was preparing every single day for what was needed. I know he's preparing behind the scenes right now for what might happen in Game 4. So for me, it's of minimal concern.
Q: Last night you stated how there was no other pitcher you'd want. The consensus in the clubhouse is the same. Why are the guys able to rally behind him, and what is your confidence in Zack tomorrow?
Lovullo: Well, it's extremely high. He's been the main guy all year long. He won 17 games in a very rugged NL West. He's been our pace setter. He's been the guy that we've leaned on all season long to stop situations like this and go out and throw a good game and get us back on the winning side of things.
So my confidence level is for a couple of reasons: Because of what he's earned and what he's done and what he's shown the rest of that clubhouse, what he's shown the rest of the league. Then the second part of it is that he goes out and executes a great game plan. He's fearless. He's on the attack. He understands strengths and limitations. So I feel like because he's been our guy all year long and because I know what I know about him, I couldn't think of a better guy to go out there and execute tomorrow.
Q: Any message you're going to talk to the clubhouse about the situation you're in, down 0-2?
Lovullo: Well, we're very well-versed as to what's going on. We've definitely got our backs against the wall. I'm not going to go in there and start to swing things around. I just want them to know that they've done it all year long. I believe in this group. And I couldn't think of a better group to be together with to make something special happen. Like I've been saying, we have a little bit more of a story to tell.
I would say also that we need to learn and pay attention to what happened in the first two games and allow that to prepare a little bit better for Game 3. And then honor one another, group together as a family and go out there and play your best nine innings that you've ever played. That is the message that I'd like to send to the guys.
Q: Are you seeing some nerves from guys so far in this series?
Lovullo: I haven't gotten as close to that as I'd like because things are moving pretty quickly. But I think maybe Taijuan's outing might have -- that first inning might have been a new experience for him and he may have had an out-of-body experience, but I haven't had a chance to talk to him about it. I'm just going based on the results in 48 pitches, something he hasn't done all year long. So I don't want to deny that it's a possibility, but what's happening every single moment that I possibly can, my interactions with these guys are extremely normal.
I just was walking through the clubhouse in the training room and spent time with the guys as I always do, and they just seemed as comfortable and as normal as they have been all year long. So those are things that I pay close attention to. I don't think they're nervous. I don't think they're uptight. I just think they're a little bit frustrated because we haven't been playing Arizona Diamondback baseball.
Q: With Robbie, did you see any of that with him last night, or could it have been pitching on just a couple days' rest?
Lovullo: I don't think it had any impact. It's my opinion, and I know everybody has their own, in my opinion it didn't have any impact on the short rest and the outings. Didn't have any impact on last night. I just think it wasn't one of his best outings. It was okay. I know he had a no-hitter for three innings, something like that, and things were okay. There was a little bit of damage control and he gave up one run.
So I thought he was doing okay, but it wasn't a typical Robbie outing. Why that is, I'm not sure. I haven't had a chance to connect with him and get a feel for it. He'd be honest with me and tell me what the situation was. One thing I did make sure that I asked him was was there any confusion about what's happening based on your uses out of the bullpen versus being a starter? And he told me absolutely not. He was ready for that start. So I don't think that had any impact on it, and I trust what he told me.
But as far as postgame, I haven't had a chance to interact with him. And I probably will here in the next 12 hours, get a feel for what he thought. Just to get a bird's-eye view and get a clearer sense of what happened through his lens.
Q: What stands out about Darvish as a pitcher and the kind of challenge that he presents?
Lovullo: Well, when he's on, he's really good. When he's not, he's beatable. So we have to prepare for every angle here. There's very little wiggle room. So we're hoping that the hostile environment that this facility can offer us have him come in here and maybe not execute to the best of his ability. That's what we're hopeful for. But we've got to prepare for him being at his best. Our guys are ready to walk through this whole day together tomorrow and link everything that they possibly can and make it as hard as we possibly can on his outing. So I believe in the guys in that clubhouse. I know that we're prepared for the day.
Q: Drury had the big homer yesterday. Might we see him in the starting lineup tomorrow? Do you think that's something that could jump start him a little bit?
Lovullo: Yeah, huge, huge home run for us. Got us right back into the game. That's what we've done all year long. So we started a trend in the direction that we've been going all year long, and I felt that vibe in the dugout. I've been feeling it the whole series. So it was nice to see him get that big hit and got us right back in the game. I haven't totally walked through every scenario. To say he will or won't at this point might be a little premature.
Q: What do you feel you've done well offensively, and what needs to improve?
Lovullo: Well, what I believe in is pitching defense helps you win and advance in championships. I believe our starting pitcher has been the catalyst for us all year long and the common denominator. And I believe the starting pitching has not been as crisp or as clean as it has been. Once again, the right guy has a chance tomorrow on to step up and get that line moving in the right direction. I think the bullpen has been more than sufficient. I know that there were some hiccups and some pitches that weren't made, and they took advantage of it last night. I think the bullpen has been okay.
Then offensively, continue to grind things out and score runs and expect to score runs. We've done that. I think we had a good game plan against Clayton Kershaw, scored some runs. Yesterday we battled and got right back into the game. So offensively just maybe group things together, get big hits, execute with two outs and expect to get the job done. Those are themes that we've been following all year long, so to continue doing that offensively.
Q: The Dodgers obviously were waiting you out, and secondly you weren't throwing consistent strikes. What are the adjustments that you're making tomorrow? What adjustments do you expect the Dodgers to make back?
Lovullo: Well, the Dodgers swing the bat well. They're locked in right now. They're grinding down at-bats, waiting for their pitch. I think every good team is trying to do that. That's something that we're trying to do offensively as well. I think what they've done particularly well is hit with two outs and get that big base hit with two outs. I think they've had some tack-on runs with big base hits. I just think our pitchers need to continue to execute all the way through the end of the inning, and expect to throw those convicted pitches and get big outs.
So, like I said, throwing 177 pitches yesterday is not any part of our recipe. We need our starting pitchers to step up and attack the way they had all year long. Like I said, I think two games it's been a little bit of a rehearsal for some of the things we need to improve upon, so that's why I think Zack's going to be crisp and ready to go tomorrow.