The Arizona Diamondbacks have pulled closer in the National League Championship Series after a walk-off win on Thursday night over the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Phillies took a 1-0 lead on a wild pitch in the seventh inning, but a game-tying RBI double in the bottom of the inning knotted the score at 1-1. The D-backs then walked it off with game-winning RBI single in the ninth inning.
But, the biggest moment in the game came when Torey Lovullo pulled starter Brandon Pfaadt in the the sixth inning after the right-hander had utterly dominated Phillies hitters all afternoon.
D-backs manager Torey Lovullo made a questionable move in Game 3 of the NLCS
Torey Lovullo lifted Brandon Pfaadt after 5.2 innings of work. The 25-year-old rookie had allowed just two hits and struck out nine batters when his manager came out to get him. Pfaadt had thrown just 70 pitches.
Lovullo had scripted this before the game, and it was known that Pfaadt was only going to face the Philadelphia Phillies batting order twice. This is commonplace throughout Major League Baseball nowadays, as managers don't want their starters facing the lineup a third time.
Lovullo brought in left-hander Andrew Saalfrank to face Kyle Schwarber and he walked him. Thankfully for the D-backs, Trea Turner grounded out to end the inning.
Can you imagine the reaction from Reds fans if David Bell did that?
The outcry from the Cincinnati Reds fanbase was bad enough when David Bell pulled Hunter Greene from a start on September 20th after seven innings. Greene struck out 14 batters and had allowed just one run on three hits.
Imagine how vicious the Cincinnati faithful would be if Bell went out to the mound to take the ball from Graham Ashcraft after 5.2 innings of shutout baseball in Game 3 of a must-win contest in the postseason.
That's essentially what Lovullo did on Thursday night. After the D-backs pitching had been getting creamed in this series, Lovullo finally had a starter imposing his will, and then lifted him in favor of a lefty-lefty matchup.
At least Bell could somewhat justify pulling Greene during that September game against the Minnesota Twins because of the pitch count (92). But Torey Lovullo pulled his starter at 70 pitches. Thankfully, for his sake, it worked out.
For all those Reds fans who want to chastise David Bell for his in-game decisions, just let it be known that managers throughout Major League Baseball make very similar calls. While it oftentimes comes across as crazy to fans, there's a method to the madness.