WASHINGTON – Jesus Luzardo certainly wasn’t the biggest name among pitchers in the 2017 trade between the Washington Nationals and the Oakland A’s.
But now the A’s are reaping the benefit of that deal for the young lefty, who helped the Athletics win the American League East title this year.
The A’s will host No. 7 seed Chicago in the best-of-three series starting Tuesday.
Luzardo is one of several former Nationals who will be in the postseason starting Tuesday in the American League. He is 3-2 with an ERA of 4.12 in 12 games with nine starts this year for Oakland, with his last appearance on Sept. 24 as he went three innings against the Dodgers out of the bullpen.
The lefty last started on Sept. 19.
“We just wanted to keep him on regular turn,” manager Bob Melvin told reporters of Luzardo, “and keep our options open at the end.”
Another former Washington pitcher with Oakland this year is Yusmeiro Petit, who was 2-1, 1.66 in 26 games out of the bullpen in regular-season play. He has a lifetime ERA in the playoffs of 1.76. He pitched for the Nationals in 2016.
A native of Peru, Luzardo was drafted in the third round in 2016 out of his Florida high school by the Nationals. He pitched in the New York-Penn League and the Gulf Coast League in 2017 before he was traded to Oakland.
In July of 2017, the Nationals traded right-hander Blake Treinen, third baseman Sheldon Neuse and Luzardo to Oakland for right-hander Ryan Madson and lefty Sean Doolittle.
The trade helped both teams, as former University of Virginia standout Doolittle aided the Nationals’ World Series drive a year ago.
Neuse, drafted by the Nationals in the second round in 2016, hit .250 in 25 games for Oakland in 2019 but did not appear in any MLB games this year.
The White Sox’ roster this year included several former Washington pitchers: Lucas Giolito, who threw a no-hitter last month against the Pirates; veteran lefty Gio Gonzalez; and right-handers Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning. Giolito, Lopez, and Dunning were traded by the Nationals to the White Sox for veteran outfielder Adam Eaton before the 2017 season.
Other American League playoffs begin Tuesday: No. 8 Toronto at No. 1 Tampa Bay; No. 6 Houston at No. 3 Minnesota; and No. 5 New York at No. 4 Cleveland. The Astros, of course, are managed by former Washington skipper Dusty Baker.
Toronto had three former Washington pitchers on its roster to end the year: A.J. Cole (3-0, 3.09 in 24 games), Robbie Ray (2-5, 6.62 in 12 games with 11 starts with Arizona and Jays); and Tanner Roark, who was 2-3, 6.80 in 11 starts for Toronto.
The Twins’ bullpen includes veteran right-hander Tyler Clippard, an all-star for the Nationals in 2011 and 2014.
He was 2-1, 2.77 in 26 games this season. Minnesota lefty Rich Hill, who played at Triple-A in the Nationals’ system in 2015, is 2-2, 3.03 in eight starts this year.
“I look at that 2019 banner a lot up there at the stadium, so it’d be nice to put another one up there,” reliever Taylor Rogers of the Twins told reporters this past weekend.
The Cleveland bullpen includes veteran lefty Oliver Perez, 39, who has a 2.00 ERA in 21 games with one save. He pitched for Washington in 2016-17.
One of the catchers for Cleveland is Sandy Leon, who broke into the majors with the Nationals in 2012. He hit .136 in 66 at-bats for the Indians this year.
Next: Ex-Nationals in the playoffs with National League teams.