Left-hander Jesus Luzardo returns to the San Francisco Bay Area as one of the faces of a different franchise when he and the Miami Marlins look to secure a series win over the host Giants on Sunday afternoon.
The clubs have split a pair of one-run decisions in the first two games of the set, withthe Giants winning 4-3 on Friday before falling 1-0 on Saturday.
Lefty Braxton Garrett handcuffed San Francisco on just one hit over 6 1/3 innings to get the shutout rolling, and now the Marlins hope for more of the same from Luzardo (3-2, 3.16).
It wasn't long ago that the former third-round pick was one of the brightest prospects in the Oakland organization before Athletics' management decided to use him to acquire Starling Marte, who was seen as the type of offensive force who could deliver the A's a playoff berth in 2021.
Oakland failed in that quest, and in the meantime lost Luzardo, who credits the A's and especially three former teammates for the pitcher he's become.
"I had probably my best memory in baseball pitching in a playoff game in a packed Coliseum," he said this week. "I made some extremely good friends, like Sean Manaea, Chris Bassitt, Frankie Montas. Those guys to me were like older brothers. They whipped me into shape."
The 25-year-old edition of Luzardo that the Giants will see Sunday is on a nice roll, having limited the Arizona Diamondbacks and Washington Nationals to a total of two runs in 12 innings his last two starts. The Marlins won the games 6-2 and 5-4.
Luzardo started a 4-3 win over the Giants in Miami last month, but didn't get a decision after allowing three runs in 4 1/3 innings. It was his third career start against his former cross-bay rival, having gone 1-0 with a 5.93 ERA in those games.
One of his best games for the A's came in a 6-0 home win over the Giants in September 2020, when he threw six innings of shutout ball, allowing five hits and no walks while striking out seven. It was just the ninth start of his career.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler left the stadium Saturday hoping Luzardo wouldn't be as sharp as Garrett.
"We can do a better job collectively," he said of his offense, which totaled just three hits, all singles. "Sometimes a guy comes out and hits all his spots, which he did. We weren't able to string anything together. At the end of the day, we just didn't get enough hits."
One of the hits was a single by catcher Patrick Bailey, who was making his first major-league start after having made his debut -- three innings, no at-bats -- the night before. He singled in his third plate appearance Saturday.
If Bailey gets another go on Sunday, it would come as batterymate for another lefty, Alex Wood (0-0, 2.87).
The 32-year-old will be continuing to stretch out after missing almost a month bridging April and May with a hamstring injury. After a relief appearance in his return to action, Wood started a 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies last Monday, allowing two runs in 4 2/3 innings.
He will be making his 17th career start against the Marlins. In 19 career meetings overall, he's gone 8-5 with a 2.58 ERA. The eight wins are his most against any opponent, and the 2.58 ERA is his best against anyone he's faced eight or more times.
--Field Level Media