Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

Luzardo dazzles in relief in 2020 debut

No. 12 overall prospect tosses three scoreless innings
Jesus Luzardo posted a 1.50 ERA in six regular-season appearances in the Majors in 2019. (Jeff Chiu/AP)
July 26, 2020

The last time A's fans saw Jesus Luzardo pitch, he logged three scoreless innings in the American League Wild Card game. He did the same in his return to the big league mound on Saturday, albeit on a much smaller stage. Oakland’s top prospect logged three frames of scoreless relief

The last time A's fans saw Jesus Luzardo pitch, he logged three scoreless innings in the American League Wild Card game. He did the same in his return to the big league mound on Saturday, albeit on a much smaller stage.

Oakland’s top prospect logged three frames of scoreless relief in the A’s 4-1 loss to the Angels at RingCentral Coliseum. He gave up one hit and one walk while striking out two in the team’s second game of the season.

Sean Manaea started for Oakland and yielded one run through four innings. But he surrendered three more in the fifth before J.B. Wendelkenrecorded the final out..

A’s skipper Bob Melvin turned to Luzardo in the sixth, and the 22-year-old southpaw did not disappoint. He struck out Justin Upton on three pitches, then retired Albert Pujols on a line drive to center field and fanned Taylor Ward to end the 1-2-3 frame.

The seventh started a bit shakier for Luzardo as he gave up a leadoff double to Tommy La Stella. MLB Pipeline's No. 12 overall prospect buckled down, inducing three straight groundouts to strand La Stella at third base and escape unscathed.

Luzardo again got into trouble to open the eighth, walking David Fletcher on four pitches. That brought up Mike Trout, but the southpaw was up to the challenge -- after working the count full, he got the three-time MVP to ground into a double play. He set down Upton on a fly ball to left to cap his outing.

Luzardo may not have gone the distance or even put himself in line for the win, but Melvin was impressed by the performance.

“For a guy that has been sitting in his room for a while, to give us [44] pitches and not give up a run, there were a lot of good things that tested him,” Melvin told reporters. “He came through with flying colors, throwing 98 mph, and all his pitches. I’m glad we were able to get him up.”

Impressive enough that his next appearance may be as a starter.

“We’ll see,” Melvin said. “I think nowadays, if you can throw 60 to 65 pitches, you might be in a position to start. We’re right on the border there, so we’ll see. We’ll have a decision to make at some point. Maybe we get him one more outing and we’re in a good position to start him, or maybe not."

If that's the case, the budding ace is ready.

“I feel like I am, just based on how my arm feels and the strength of my arm right now,” Luzardo said. “I felt good throughout the outing.”

Last year, Luzardo dazzled in six regular-season appearances after the A's purchased his contract from Triple-A Las Vegas in September. He allowed two runs on five hits and three walks over 12 innings and finished with a 1.50 ERA, 0.67 WHIP and .119 opponents’ batting average.

Luzardo also was great for the A’s in the postseason, even if they didn’t get past the Wild Card round. He threw three scoreless frames in the loss to the Rays, giving up a hit and two walks while striking out four.

Royals 3, Indians 2 (10 innings)

Second-ranked Royals prospect Brady Singer lived up to expectations in his first Major League start. MLB Pipeline’s No. 59 overall prospect dealt five solid frames, allowing two runs in a shaky third inning in what was the lone blemish on an otherwise great outing. He finished with seven strikeouts and gave up two hits and two walks in just his 27th appearance as a professional. For the Indians, No. 13 prospect Daniel Johnson went 0-for-3 but drew a walk. Fourteenth-ranked James Karinchak was tagged with the loss after yielding an unearned run in the 10th. Box score

Brewers 8, Cubs 3

Milwaukee picked up its first win of the season and 13th-ranked prospect Devin Williams logged a scoreless inning in his 2020 debut. The right-hander entered in the seventh and worked around a single, a walk and a hit batter. With two outs and the bases loaded, he whiffed Jason Heyward to thwart the threat. For the Cubs, No. 23 prospect James Norwood yielded two runs on three hits in an inning out of the bullpen. Box score

White Sox 10, Twins 3

A day after collecting two hits in his Major League debut, top White Sox prospect Luis Robert continued making his presence felt. MLB Pipeline's No. 3 overall prospect legged out an infield hit in the seventh inning and scored on a three-run homer by Leury García. Playing center field, he registered two putouts. No. 16 White Sox prospect Jimmy Lambert made his big league debut with a scoreless ninth inning, allowing one hit and striking out one. Box score

Braves 5, Mets 3 (10 innings)

William Contreras wasted no time making his presence felt in his first Major League plate appearance, smashing an RBI double in extra innings. The Braves' No. 9 prospect entered as a pinch-hitter in the 10th and whacked the first pitch from Hunter Strickland into the right-center field gap. He followed in the footsteps of his brother Willson, who belted the first pitch he saw in the big leagues for an opposite-field homer for the Cubs in 2016. No. 22 Braves prospect Alex Jackson got the start behind the plate and went 0-for-2. Third-ranked Mets prospect Andres Gimenez flied out in the eighth in his first big league at-bat. Box score

Giants 5, Dodgers 4

San Francisco notched its first win of the year with a few of the team’s young talent providing a boost. No. 12 prospect Logan Webb made his first start of the year and allowed a run on six hits and a walk with two strikeouts over four innings. He threw 40 of 70 pitches for strikes, giving up his lone run in the opening frame. He worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the second and got help from his defense with double plays in the third and fourth. No. 13 prospect Jaylin Davis led off the fourth with an opposite-field single and came around to score the deciding run. Dodgers No. 16 prospect Dennis Santana entered in the fourth and surrendered two runs on three hits with three punchouts in two innings. No. 18 prospect Edwin Ríos went hitless in his lone at-bat. Box score

Tigers 6, Reds 4

No. 15 Tigers prospect Bryan Garcia encountered some trouble in relief but escaped the seventh inning unscathed. Entering with two outs, the right-hander walked Phillip Ervin and gave up a single to Joey Votto. But he buckled down and got Eugenio Suarez to fly out to end the inning. Box score

Phillies 7, Marlins 1

After Marlins starter Caleb Smith departed after three innings, 10th-ranked prospect Nick Neidert tossed 2 1/3 nearly spotless frames. The right-hander didn’t record a strikeout but allowed just one hit and one walk to keep the game tied, 1-1. No. 27 Alex Vesia replaced him in the sixth and allowed a two-run homer to Phil Gosselin. Box score

Rockies 3, Rangers 2

After a hitless season debut, fifth-ranked Rangers prospect Nick Solak got into the hit column in the seventh inning Saturday. The 25-year-old batted for Jeff Mathis and singled to right field against reliever Carlos Estevez. In 120 Major League at-bats, Solak is hitting .292/.388/.483 with 12 extra-base hits. Box score

Astros 7, Mariners 2

Sixth-ranked Houston prospect Cristian Javier tossed an inning of scoreless relief in his big league debut after starter Lance McCullers Jr. left the game, allowing one hit and striking out one. Mariners No. 10 prospect Kyle Lewis clubbed his second homer in as many games, a solo shot in the sixth that was his only hit of the day. Fourth-ranked Evan White went 0-for-3 with a walk. Box score

Nationals 9, Yankees 2

Top Nationals prospect Carter Kieboom made his season debut at DH and went 1-for-4 with a run scored. He singled to right field in the second inning after a seven-pitch battle with James Paxton, coming home three batters later on a double play by Trea Turner. On the mound, 25th-ranked James Bourque worked a scoreless eighth, yielding one hit. Yankees No. 25 prospect Michael King surrendered four runs on four hits with two strikeouts over 3 1/3 innings in relief of Paxton. Box score

Padres 3, D-backs 1

Padres No. 19 prospect Edward Olivares notched a hit in his Major League debut as he ripped a one-out double to left field off Robbie Ray in the fourth inning. The 24-year-old outfielder, who won a Texas League championship with Double-A Amarillo last year, also struck out, walked and grounded out. After drawing a leadoff free pass against Andrew Chafin in the sixth, he was picked off and caught stealing. Box score

Jordan Wolf is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter: @byjordanwolf.