Athletics

Luzardo's bullpen struggles cost A's in loss to Yankees

Athletics
Jesus Luzardo pitching

Jesús Luzardo continued to struggle on the mound Saturday as the Athletics fell to the New York Yankees, 7-5 on a hot, humid day in the Bronx.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Luzardo came out of the bullpen and gave up a home run to Gio Urshela to give the Yankees a 5-4 lead they wouldn't relinquish.

"Yeah, he struggled here recently," manager Bob Melvin said after the loss. "He had a couple really good outings out of the bullpen and the last few have not been as good. Obviously, the long ball's been a problem for him, he’s making mistakes with his fastballs and with two strikes, he didn’t get in here and ends up being middle of the plate. Yeah, he's going through a rough stretch right now." 

Luzardo now has given up at least one homer in five straight relief appearances and his ERA ballooned to 6.87 on the season 

Luzardo has been brought along as a starter since he got his first call-up in 2019. He did come out of the bullpen initially to ease him in, and fared well.

In 12 innings of relief in 2019, he boasted a 1.50 ERA with 16 strikeouts. But his stint as a reliever this season isn't going well.

A’s shortstop Elvis Andrus gave a more optimistic approach to Luzardo’s tough last few outings.

“Our bullpen are humans too -- they’re going to get hit once in a while,” Andrus said. “He’s OK, he just needs to make a few adjustments."

 

A’s starter Chris Bassitt is looked at as a mentor by Luzardo. When asked what the two discuss when Luzardo is facing these struggles, Bassitt didn’t have much to say.

“I respect the question, but that’s between me and him,” Bassitt said. “I’m not really going to get into that.”

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Melvin didn’t give any details if Luzardo would need to be sent down to the minors to work out any issues, but it’s certainly something that needs to be evaluated and considered.

Luzardo's struggles could also impact how the A's approach the trade deadline at the end of July. While they are rumored to be interested in Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, the bullpen might have to be addressed.

A’s general manager David Forst told NBC Sports California at the end of April that the team could seek out more bullpen arms to bolster an area the team typically is strong in.