Jesus Luzardo is making his much anticipated first start in the majors. What should the Oakland A’s expect from this outing?
Finally, at long last, the day has come. Jesus Luzardo is set to make his first start in an Oakland A’s uniform, the beginning of what is expected to be a long stint in the rotation. In time, Luzardo is expected to become the A’s next ace, a dominant top of the rotation arm that they can build around.
But that journey has to begin at some point. For now, that will be on Tuesday, with Luzardo facing the Rangers at home. It is a great opponent for the A’s youngster, as the Rangers rank 13th in the American League with 27 runs scored and a .644 OPS heading into Monday. Texas also has the third most strikeouts in the AL, going down on strikes 67 times. The one thing that the Rangers offense has done well is to take a walk. Their 34 walks are fourth in the league, showing excellent patience, if nothing else.
Those numbers seemingly play into Luzardo’s strengths as a pitcher. Thus far in 2020, he has allowed just five hits and three walks over his 6.2 innings, striking out seven. Opponents have mustered a .208/.296/.292 batting line this season, with both extra base hits having been doubles.
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While the opposition lines up perfectly for Luzardo, there is a question of how long he will pitch. He was up to 67 pitches in his last outing, lasting 3.2 innings before the A’s typically stout defense gave way and he began to falter. On an every fifth day turn, it would not be unreasonable to imagine that Luzardo can last for roughly five innings.
It will likely come down to how well he can locate. While he struck out five batters in his 3.2 innings on Wednesday, he also issued two walks and allowed four hits. For all of the Rangers issues on offense, they have plenty of patience and will make Luzardo throw strikes.
If Luzardo is on, the Rangers should not pose that much of an issue. An 80 pitch count could lead to four to five innings, with Luzardo allowing a couple of hits and a walk while striking out over a batter an inning. It would be an excellent way to begin his possible ascension to his expected role as the Oakland A’s ace.
What say you? What are your expectations for Jesus Luzardo in his first major league start?