Desperate Diamondbacks move Gabby Moreno to 3rd in lineup

Jesse RogersESPN Staff WriterOct 19, 2023, 02:03 PM ET2 Minute Read

PHOENIX — In a crucial moment for the Arizona Diamondbacks, manager Torey Lovullo has made strategic lineup changes for Game 3 of the National League Championship Series against the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday. The adjustments include moving catcher Gabby Moreno up to the third spot in the batting order and giving infielder Emmanuel Rivera a start at third base.

The Diamondbacks currently trail 2-0 in the best-of-seven series, with only three runs to their credit from the first two games.

“This is a necessary move, considering the situation, despite any potential impact on the players’ emotions,” stated Lovullo on Thursday morning. “Fortunately, the team has been incredibly supportive. At this point, it’s all about one thing: one goal, one team. They’re fully committed.”

This lineup change sees Moreno batting third for the first time this season, while outfielder Tommy Pham drops down to the fifth spot. Pham has primarily hit third throughout the year but has also had 75 plate appearances in the fifth position. So far in the NLCS, he is 0-for-8 and nursing a toe injury. Nonetheless, Lovullo confirmed that Pham is ready to play in Game 3.

“I had a quick conversation with Tommy, and he’s a true competitor,” the manager stated. “He assured me he’s willing to do whatever it takes to contribute.”

Rivera’s start at third base marks his postseason debut. Consequently, Evan Longoria will serve as the designated hitter, and Alek Thomas will be on the bench for the game against left-handed pitcher Ranger Suarez of the Phillies. Thomas has yet to record a hit in the series, going 0-for-5.

“The players understand the rationale behind these decisions,” Lovullo reiterated. “I had to make the choices I believed would enable us to demonstrate our full potential, score runs, and win the game.”


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