Not a great couple of day for the Oakland A’s. A few moments ago they just dropped their second of two games against the Mariners to start the season and now they have bad news about their top pitching prospect, Jesus Luzardo. Jane Lee of MLB.com reports that Luzardo will be shut down for 4-6 weeks with a strained muscle in his shoulder.
Luzardo was considered a candidate to open the season in the Oakland rotation but now it seems he won’t begin throwing again until late April or early May. Thus endeth a spring training in which he has allowed only one run in nine and two-thirds innings while striking out 15 and walking four.
The Orioles don’t yet have the worst record in baseball. They’re tied for the most losses with 16, but they have two more wins than the Marlins and one more than the Royals, so let’s say that they have overachieved to this point. Kudos to being a bit plucky in the early going!
But make no mistake: the Orioles are not a good team and I suspect they will soon be the worst in the league. When they are, they will likely get blown out quite often and when they are blown out they will put position players on the mound more than almost any other team. Heck, they’ve done it three times already this year and the season is only three weeks old.
The latest Orioles position player to pitch was catcher Jesús Sucre, who took the mound in last night’s 12-2 loss to the White Sox. And he wasn’t half bad! He retired the side in order and needed only nine pitches to do so:
There once was a time when it was a novelty to see a position player pitching. It happens all the time now, partially because of blowouts, partially because teams have decided it’s better to get embarrassed a bit than to burn a bullpen arm in a game they’ve given up trying to win.
I suspect the Orioles will take the practice to a whole new level in 2019, though. For better or for worse.