Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo was born in Santa Monica, raised in the San Fernando Valley where he attended Montclair Prep, and played in college at UCLA.
And he had a very Southern California moment toward the end of Game 1 in the National League division series with the Dodgers when he handed the ball to Jimmie Sherfy, a 25-year-old right-hander he has known for a long time.
Sherfy and Nick Lovullo, one of the manager’s sons, were teammates at Newbury Park High.
“Here I am handing a ball off to one of my son’s high school teammates that I watched grow up playing baseball,” Lovullo said Saturday before Game 2. “It was a surreal moment for me. I know we made eye contact, and I’ll never forget what that feeling was like.
“It was a proud moment. Almost like a parent is handing the ball off to their own child, and that’s how I view Jimmie.”
Lovullo handed the ball to Sherfy again Saturday in Game 2 with the Diamondbacks trailing, 3-2, Cody Bellinger at first base and one out in the fifth inning. Ten pitches later, Sherfy handed the ball back and the Dodgers’ lead was 6-2.
Pinch-hitter Curtis Granderson, who has been in a slump just about as long as the Dodgers have had him, hit Sherfy’s second pitch for a single. Bellinger moved to third and Granderson took second on the throw. Logan Forsythe then singled in Bellinger and Austin Barnes followed with a two-run double to left.
At that point, the ball was returned to Lovullo.
Granderson’s Dodgers’ playoff debut in Game 1 went much like his first six weeks as a Dodger. He struck out twice and went hitless in four at-bats.
Granderson arrived from the New York Mets in mid-August and batted .161 with a .654 on-base-plus-slugging percentage as a Dodger, with 33 strikeouts in 112 at-bats.
The veteran outfielder will remain in the lineup against right-handed pitchers, though he sat for the start of Game 2, with left-hander Robbie Ray starting for Arizona.
“I don’t have any plans on giving up on him just quite yet,” manager Dave Roberts said before the game.
Good thing. Roberts called on Granderson in the fifth inning, and he delivered that key pinch-hit single that ignited a four-run rally.
He is likely to get the start Monday, too, when Arizona goes back to right-handed starter Zack Greinke.
Seager said his sore right elbow is doing “OK”. One game into a postseason he hopes will last four more weeks, the shortstop is managing the elbow pain that has hampered him since mid-August.
“Just figuring out how to rest it, figuring out how to just maintain,” Seager said. “The trainers and strength coaches have been fantastic with helping put a plan together and staying to the plan and maintaining it, basically.”
Seager sat out eight games at the start of September because of the elbow. He and Roberts have battled about how much rest the situation required.
Roberts said that Seager might disagree, but said the Dodgers did “a great job” balancing Seager’s starts.
“He would play 162 games if he could,” Roberts said.
Seager hit .179 in September, by far his worst performance in a month this season. However, he got three hits in the Oct. 1 regular-season finale, and reached base three times in Game 1 of the division series.
“It was just more of trying to keep him strong through October,” Roberts said. “The communication with Corey was very clear. Maybe not agreeable at all times, but it was clear from our perspective. The way he swung the bat over the last week before the season ended — and obviously yesterday — he swung the bat very well. So I think it was a good thing.”
Chase Utley to start
Chase Utley will start at second base Monday in Arizona, Roberts said. Logan Forsythe started the first two games of the series.