Jesus Luzardo has become unusable in Oakland A’s bullpen
When the Oakland A’s activated Jesus Luzardo and placed him in the bullpen, the expectation was that they had added a key piece to their bullpen. Luzardo had been lights out as a reliever in 2019, and although he was inconsistent in the rotation, he may be able to find himself as a pitcher in a different role. Manager Bob Melvin had already indicated his confidence in the lefty, as he was thrust into high leverage situations in his previous stint in the bullpen. This was not likely to be any different.
For his part, Melvin has been attempting to use Luzardo in the same way. He has come into the game to hold a lead, or as was the case on Saturday, to protect a tie game. However, the results have not been the same as they were back in 2019.
Oakland A’s cannot use Jesus Luzardo right now
The A’s loss on Saturday can be pinned directly on Luzardo’s inability to get anyone out right now. He allowed three runs on a hit and two walks while recording one out. He had just three strikes in his 17 pitches, one of which was belted by Gio Urshela for a solo homer. Although two runs came in when Sergio Romo allowed a two run single, Luzardo’s struggles put the A’s in that situation.
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This marks the fifth consecutive outing that Luzardo has allowed at least one run. He has allowed 11 runs on 11 hits and three walks over his last six innings, with just three strikeouts. Six of those 11 hits have left the yard, as it is clear that Luzardo is not fooling anyone right now. Melvin may still have faith, but it is difficult to justify.
Luzardo has been maddening at times. He has the potential to be an ace, the type of pitcher that the A’s can build around. And he will show that potential at times, being utterly dominant on the mound. But there are also times when he does not look as though he belongs in the majors, such as his latest run.
And maybe that is what needs to happen. Perhaps Luzardo needs a stint in Triple-A to get back to the form he has displayed in the past. He certainly cannot be used in anything but a mopup situation in a blowout at this point, serving no real purpose in the A’s bullpen. But a stint in the minors to build his confidence back up may allow the A’s to use Luzardo going forward.
The Oakland A’s cannot use Jesus Luzardo in virtually any situation right now. It is time to send him to the minors to get him on track.