In the sixth inning of the A’s 5-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night, Jesús Luzardo came out of the bullpen in relief. This wasn’t the first time it’s happened, not even the first time it’s happened this season, but it was a bit weird to see so close to the playoffs.
Or was it?
Luzardo is a candidate to start one of the A's playoff games next week, so pitching him out of the bullpen kept him on schedule.
“We just wanted to keep [Luzardo] on a regular turn like this would be and keep our options opened in the end,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said after the game.
“We want to keep as many options opened at the end to figure out what we want to do in the postseason and obviously he’s another option for us -- he pitches a little later then he doesn’t factor in,” Melvin added.
This might mean lefty Sean Manaea could be rested enough to start Game 1.
In his last outing on Wednesday night, Manaea struck out four across six frames. It was one of his best starts of the season, but didn’t necessarily play into Melvin’s decision.
“We’ll probably talk about it next week when we get home and talk about who our starters are,” Melvin said of Manaea. “He’s pitched extremely well after a slow start, which you expect out of him. He’s putting himself in position to do whatever we need him to do.”
Earlier this week, Manaea said he wanted a chance to redeem himself after a tough AL Wild Card outing against the Tampa Bay Rays last season.
He just might get it.