Marlins Manager Announces Starter Ahead of Opening Day

Prior to Opening Day, Skip Schumaker made his starter announcement quickly. On March 28, when the Miami Marlins play the Pittsburgh Pirates, Jesús Luzardo will get the ball from the manager. Luzardo was the perfect man to take the mound because Sandy Alcántara was expected to miss the entirety of 2024. The left-hander pitched 32 starts and amassed a 3.58 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and 208:55 K:BB in 178 2/3 innings. He will start Opening Day for the Marlins for the first time since Mark Hendrickson in 2008.

In front of media, Jesús Luzardo said, “Skip called me into his office,” to kick off opening day. “He and Sandy (Alcántara) were involved; I sensed a problem.”

Schumaker questioned Luzardo about what constituted more of a declaration as they spoke. “Where will you be on Opening Day, given that?” According to Luzardo, Schumaker enquired. “He deserves it,” Schumaker remarked. I hope this is only the beginning for him. He has elevated himself to the position of staff ace. a man who rose to prominence on the staff and in the clubhouse.

“He’s our guy right now,” added pitching coach Mel Sottlemyre Jr.: “He’s our guy right now. … Luzardo the second half of last season started to step up. I know he’s going to embrace the pressure that goes with that No.1 spot”

Marlins Manager Announces Starter Ahead of Opening Day

Luzardo’s Path to His First Opening Day Nod

The Washington Nationals selected Luzardo in the third round of the 2016 MLB Draft. A year later, they traded him to the Oakland Athletics as part of the trade package that sent Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to Washington. Luzardo made his debut in 2019 with Oakland but struggled to find his footing in the Majors. In 15 starts, he posted a 4.79 ERA in 31 games (15 starts). When Miami acquired Luzardo at the 2021 trade deadline from the A’s for outfielder Starling Marte, Luzardo was at a low point in his career.

At that time, Luzardo (6.44 ERA over 12 starts) showed signs of inconsistency throughout the rest of that season.

Becoming A Key Cog in the Marlins Success

The Marlins saw something in Luzardo and worked with him to find his game. He ended the 2021 season on a strong note with 11 strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings in a one-run start. Luzardo used that start as motivation as he came into the 2022 season as the No. 5 starter in the Marlins rotation. Luzardo showed glimpses of what he could become as a pitcher. He threw a 3.22 ERA while striking out 120 batters over 100 1/3 innings in 18 starts. Last season, he moved up in the rotation as Miami’s No.2 starter behind Alcántara. He finished eighth in ERA among National League-qualified pitchers. Luzardo also set the single-season franchise record with 208 strikeouts for a left-hander.

Now, he will be introduced to the top spot. It was an easy decision for Schumaker and his staff. Luzardo came up to the plate when Alcántara went down last September and has since looked like an ace early this spring.

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