Luzardo Electric in Scoreless 1st Start
OAKLAND - The anticipation for JesÃºs Luzardo's move to the starting rotation only grew with each impressive outing he turned in for the A's out of the bullpen since last September. That moment finally came on Tuesday night, and the left-hander lived up to the hype.
Luzardo was electric in his first Major League start, holding the Rangers scoreless over five innings of two-hit ball at the Coliseum. The A's No. 1 prospect struck out five batters and walked two.
Touted by scouts for his fearlessness on the mound, Luzardo came out attacking hitters from the start. He made his presence felt in the opening frame with a pair of strikeouts, rearing back to blow a 97 mph fastball by Joey Gallo to end the inning.
Possessing an impressive mix of five plus-pitches in his repertoire, Luzardo showed off four of them on Thursday night: fastball, changeup, sinker and slider. He appeared to favor the changeup against Texas, throwing it 18 times and generating five whiffs. Of his 76 pitches, Luzardo registered 34 swinging strikes and 10 whiffs. Four of his five strikeouts were of the swinging variety.
With a late start to Summer Camp by two weeks due to a COVID-19 positive test, Luzardo's pitch count was closely monitored on Tuesday. He was not going to throw more than 80 pitches, though he did appear to be getting stronger as the start went along, punching out two batters in his final inning.
Luzardo's fastball averaged 96 mph and topped out at 97.8 mph. His sinker was even filthier, reaching a maximum velocity of 98.5 mph. While such high-powered pitches can often lead to hard contact by hitters, Luzardo only gave up a total of four hard-hit balls on the night, according to Statcast.
Martin Gallegos covers the A's for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MartinJGallegos.
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