Lovullo weighing options for Game 1 starter

Lovullo weighing options for Game 1 starter

PHOENIX -- The D-backs had a seemingly simple strategy for how they wanted to approach the beginning of the postseason. Then Wednesday night's National League Wild Card Game against the Rockies dropped those plans into the shredder.

NLDS, Game 1: Friday, 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. MST on TBS

Arizona ace and NL Cy Young Award candidate Zack Greinke allowed Colorado four runs in 3 2/3 innings, and previously presumed NL Division Series Game 1 starter Robbie Ray came in and threw 34 pitches in relief. The D-backs won, 11-8, in a doozy, leaving them likely to lean on Taijuan Walker, Patrick Corbin or Zack Godley to start Friday against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw in Los Angeles.

Walker went 9-9 with a 3.49 ERA in his first season with Arizona. The Yucaipa, Calif., native went 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA in 16 2/3 innings (three starts) against the Dodgers this season.

Game Date Results Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 6 LAD 9, ARI 5 WATCH
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Gm 3 Oct. 9 LAD 3, ARI 1 WATCH

"It would be a big game," Walker said of potentially starting Game 1. "I'm from kind of around that area, about maybe an hour away. It would be fun. I don't know who's pitching yet, they haven't told anyone, but if I get the nod, that would be awesome. Whenever they need me, I'm ready."

The D-backs' other options are Corbin and Godley. While Corbin provides a left-handed arm against some of Los Angeles' left-handed-hitting stars in Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger, he has a 5.02 ERA in 10 2/3 innings against the Dodgers this season. Godley has a 3.37 ERA in 26 appearances (25 starts) this season and a 3.93 ERA in 18 1/3 innings against Los Angeles.

"It's too hard to say right now," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said of his Game 1 starter. "I haven't really gotten that far. I'm going to enjoy this and enjoy this moment and celebrate with my family. But we have a couple of candidates."

Such is Lovullo's benefit of having the Majors' third-best rotation ERA (3.61) during the regular season -- topped only in the NL by the Dodgers. But Wednesday certainly didn't go as he'd originally anticipated.

Ray fans three in relief

"This is an all-in moment," Lovullo said of using Ray. "I felt like he was the best guy to put back in the bullpen. … I felt like Robbie was the best option for us."

After Greinke allowed four runs in the fourth to cut into the D-backs' 6-0 lead, Lovullo went to Ray in the fifth. Ray held the lead until giving way to lefty specialist Jorge De La Rosa with one out in the seventh.

"It's a different animal down there in the 'pen, but I still went about it like business as usual," Ray said. "I treated it as a start, went about my same routine, but I stayed locked in from Pitch 1.

"I knew I was going to have the ball until they took it away from me. That's kind of how it was, win or go home. I knew I was in there until they took it away."

Lovullo hasn't ruled out the possibility of Greinke or Ray returning on short rest to start Game 2 on Saturday. The first-year manager said they are "certainly candidates," and he will determine how they feel in the coming days before making a decision.

"I'm ready as soon as they need me," Ray said.

Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.