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A’s tap lefty Jesús Luzardo as Game 1 wild-card starter

Rookie LHP Jesús Luzardo will start Game 1 of the wild-card series in Oakland on Tuesday and Chris Bassitt will start Wednesday for Game 2.

Both games are set for a noon first pitch. Not your usual start time, but what in 2020 has been per usual?

The White Sox are 14-0 in 2020 when facing left-handed pitchers but that doesn’t seem to scare the Oakland A’s, who will send out lefty Luzardo to open the series. When asked if he was worried about using a lefty knowing the White Sox history, skipper Bob Melvin responded:

“Ya we do, [know their history] we also have some good ones [left-handed-pitchers].”

The White Sox may have been great this season against lefties, but Luzardo is a 2020 Rookie of the Year candidate with postseason experience. Melvin explained Luzardo relieved against the Dodgers on Thursday because they had already been targeting him to pitch Game 1 for a while now, before they even knew who they were facing.

Bassitt rightfully earned a start but Melvin simply said:

“Bassitt lined up for Game 2 anyway, we wanted to keep him on regular turn.”

The start time and starting pitchers for Game 3, if necessary, has yet to be announced.

Luzardo may be young, but the fearless starter is mature and always poised on the mound. We hardly see him struggle, and Melvin is confident with their decision:

“We brought him in the [2019] wild-card game and he looked like a veteran on the mound. He pitched really well. He is composed, he has great stuff, he is one of those guys that kinda relishes these type of games, so at a young age it’s kinda rare to see but I think the experience he got last year and some of the attributes we talked about would say he wouldn’t be afraid of the first game tomorrow.”

A noon first pitch means players get tested for Covid-19 at 6:30 a.m. and then start batting practice by 9 a.m. The away team gets to take batting practice an hour after the home team. So it it really an advantage being the home team? You may have thought it was only about fans or energy in the stadium, but having to take batting practice so early does seem a little unfair for home teams.

The A’s played the White Sox four times last season, but Chicago is a completely different team this year, Melvin explained:

“Much different team than we saw last year. A lot of power, a lot of athleticism. Playing a little bit more for homers than maybe last year when they ran a little bit more but its a deep line up throughout … they have had a terrific season, they have added some players, added some pitchers, it’s just a completely different team than we saw last year and they deserve to be in the postseason.”

Marcus Semien didn’t seem bothered by the noon start and explained that they had to play at noon on Sunday so it’s nothing new. He also said that playing at 5:30 or 6 p.m. means there are shadows at the field which is one positive to starting early:

“We just have to get our sleep tonight and wake up with some energy … It’s nice to be at home. I think we played them well at home in the past, even though there is no crowd. I feel like this is a tough place for an opponent to come into so try to use that to our advantage.”


Chris Bassitt and Marcus Semien were both drafted by the Chicago White Sox and will now face their former organization.

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