Bob Melvin really did not do Jesus Luzardo any benefits.
A's manager brought in his 21-year-old left hand for his major league debut and asked him to protect a three-run lead for three full innings, arguably the best lineup in all of baseball. Luzardo passed the test with flying colors.
Oakland's top prospect retired nine of the 10 strokes he encountered, allowing just one solo home run when the A's beat first-team Houston Astros, 5-3.
"I was just anxious to get on the hill," Luzardo told reporters after the match. "A little nervous, but after the first pitch it kind of disappeared and I just zoned in."
Luzardo recorded two strikes without issuing a walk, putting down the last seven Astros he met, seamlessly blending his fast 97 mph with a devastating slider and boot, throwing 22 of his 36 strikeouts.
https: // twitter.com/Athletics/status/1
"It's really impressive," said starting pitcher Brett Anderson, who got his career-high 12th win of the season. "The command, the poise, for how young he is, the the overall thing is phenomenal. At any time you can have a left throw 98 that throws strikes, that's always a plus. "
Added Melvin:" It's three-plus pitches. He can look up any way he wants. He can hit up with his fastball forward. He can hit behind the count. He has always had the ability to do that. " Luzardo may have fought some nerves early, but the moment was obviously not too big for him. He attacked All-Star hitters with a veteran's confidence.
" I grew up and looked at some of them, "Luzardo said of the Astros." I took the same approach as I would in any other game. I looked at the scouting reports down in the bull and prepared for what was to come and I'm glad the results turned out well. "
Luzardo got the extra pressure to perform in front of about 30 friends and family members. But he was glad they could share this evening with him.
What a moment for Jesús Luzardo and his family and friends pic.twitter.com/sSwjgYbR1T
— Ben Ross (@BenRossTweets) September 12, 2019
"It was crazy," Luzardo told NBC Sports California. "It was an amazing time here. I'm glad I was able to get a lot from my family and friends out here. I'm glad they managed it. That's all I expected it to be. "
The question now is how the A's choose to use Luzardo going forward. While he's destined to be a top-pitch pitcher his entire career, Oakland already has six solid starters , along with a shaky bullpen. Wednesday night gave a glimpse of the type of late weapons that Luzardo could be along the stretch. ] "We" I'm still talking about it, "Melvin said. "We still want to try to get his pitch counted up. I mean, he's a starter of the trade. All of our starters are doing pretty well right now. Maybe next time out, the same kind of fashion. We'll get together at some point tomorrow and Make a plan for him. "
But A's chose to use Luzardo, he showed Wednesday night that he is the real deal.