A’s top prospect Luzardo to make first start vs. Rangers

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The Texas Rangers move to the east side of the San Francisco Bay looking for better results when they open a three-game series against the host Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.

The Rangers have slated right-hander Lance Lynn (1-0, 0.00 ERA) for the series opener, opposed by A’s lefty Jesus Luzardo (0-0, 1.35).

Texas salvaged one game in its three-game series in San Francisco against the Giants, prevailing 9-5 in the series finale Sunday on the strength of a late three-run homer by Joey Gallo.

The win capped an eight-game interleague run to open the season for the Rangers, who will play their next nine against American League West competition.

They were just 6-13 against the A’s last season, but it’s hard to blame Lynn for that. The veteran went 2-1 against Oakland in 2019 despite a lackluster 5.66 ERA in four starts, his only previous head-to-head contests against the A’s.

Luzardo will make the first start of his career on Tuesday after two relief appearances on the season. The 22-year-old is the top prospect in the A’s system and anticipation has been building in Oakland for his debut as a starter.

In his 6 2/3 innings in relief, he’s struck out seven batters and surrendered one earned run (three total) on five hits and three walks.

Lynn was the winning pitcher in Texas’ 1-0 win over Colorado on July 24 but was denied what could have been his 100th career victory when Arizona, down 2-0 when he left the game, rallied to take a 4-2 lead before eventually falling 7-4 on July 29.

The 33-year-old has no complaints being 1-0 instead of 2-0.

“Whenever you start a season, whether it’s April or in mid-July, you want to get off to a good start,” Lynn told reporters after the Arizona game. “That’s always your goal. You work hard for that. For me, it’s all about, no matter when you take the ball … if you give your team a chance to win every day, that’s what I’m about.

“So far I’ve done that.”

Lynn, who won twice at Oakland last season, has never matched up with Luzardo.

Luzardo debuted as a reliever last September and faced the Rangers twice, allowing two hits and one run in four innings with six strikeouts. He was credited with his first career save in a 6-1 win against the Rangers in his second major-league outing, Sept. 15, 2019. He has a 2.25 ERA against Texas in his young career.

Luzardo was scheduled to start Opening Day for the A’s last month, but he tested positive for the coronavirus during Summer Camp and had to be scratched.

So, after eight career relief stints, he’s once again scheduled to make his major-league starting debut.

His teammates are looking forward to the occasion.

“It seems like every time we see him pitch, he’s getting better,” teammate Frankie Montas gushed to reporters recently. “Every time he’s on the mound, I’m excited to watch him pitch. You know he’s going to do something good.”

The A’s begin the series riding a three-game winning streak. While the Rangers were idle on Monday, Oakland was completing a series sweep in Seattle with an 11-1 romp.

–Field Level Media

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