The Oakland A’s are showing confidence in Jesus Luzardo, but it is a confidence borne of great expectations.
Jesus Luzardo was expected to get a look at some point during the Oakland A’s postseason. While Chris Bassitt was slotted as the second starter, it was thought that Luzardo would likely get the ball if a third game was needed.
Instead, he is starting Game One for the A’s against the White Sox. It is a leap of faith – the White Sox battered left handed pitching to a .285/.364/.523 batting line, hitting 27 homers and 22 doubles in 506 plate appearances.
Luzardo, meanwhile, was somewhat inconsistent this year. His overall numbers were solid, as he posted a 4.12 ERA and a 1.271 WHiP, striking out 59 batters with 17 walks in 59 innings. But he would have flashes of brilliance, tempered by struggles in the next start.
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Nonetheless, the A’s are showing incredible faith in Luzardo. They had changed his turn in the rotation, choosing to have him pitch in relief on Thursday to have him start Game One, instead of taking his regular turn on Saturday. If Luzardo is to become the next Oakland A’s ace, his time begins now.
While he would be the third youngest pitcher to start a postseason game in A’s history, it does not mean that Luzardo does not have postseason experience. He dominated the Rays in the 2019 Wild Card Game, allowing just one hit and two walks over three scoreless innings, striking out four. He can thrive in the biggest moments.
The A’s are banking on that success. He easily has the most upside of any possible option in the rotation, completely capable of dominating on any night. While he may be a volatile option at this point in his career, Luzardo has the pure stuff to make the A’s decision to rearrange their rotation seem to be brilliant.
The Oakland A’s are showing a great deal of faith in Jesus Luzardo. We will see if he rewards their confidence.