San Diego Padres: Joey Lucchesi Has The Right Attitude

DENVER, CO - APRIL 10: Starting pitcher Joey Lucchesi
DENVER, CO - APRIL 10: Starting pitcher Joey Lucchesi /

Rookie LHP Joey Lucchesi dominated the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night, earning his first victory as a member of the San Diego Padres.

The San Diego Padres are holding an enormous stack of Powerball tickets, more than anyone else in Major League Baseball. No matter how bad things get at the major league level, fans can take comfort in knowing what’s coming, cashing in on those lottery tickets.

With Dinelson Lamet still sidelined, LHP Joey Lucchesi has continued to cement his place in the starting rotation for the San Diego Padres.

Toeing the rubber at Coors Field on Tuesday night, Lucchesi put in the most dominant performance of his brief, three-start career. “Joey Fuego” put in a quality start, tossing six innings (82 pitches/56 strikes) while giving up four hits, two runs (none of them earned), and only one walk. He struck out Colorado hitters in the process.

Small moments tell us a positive story of Joey Lucchesi.

The biggest takeaway from Lucchesi’s start was his departure. With only 181 minor league innings under his belt, Lucchesi moved very quickly through the Padres’ farm system. In fact, when he made his major league debut earlier this season, Lucchesi became the first pitcher from the 2016 draft class to reach the majors.

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Despite committing a throwing error in the first inning which led to a two-run home run off the bat of Trevor Story, Joey Fuego remained un-phased. He sat down the next seven batters in quick fashion before giving up a single to Nolan Arenado in the bottom of the fourth.

Andy Green decided to send Lucchesi back out for a seventh inning, a great decision by the Padres’ manager. Wins and losses aren’t what’s important this season, let’s see what these rookies and young players can do in tough situations.

Lucchesi emerged for one more inning, but a leadoff triple by Trevor Story and a walk to Nolan Arenado led Andy Green to relieve the left-hander for everyone’s favorite bullpen arm, Kazuhisa Makita.

After firing on all cylinders and cruising through six strong frames, Lucchesi didn’t appear outwardly upset after being yanked. He kept his head up and kept eye contact with Andy Green. It was Lucchesi who patted Green on the back before walking off the mound, as if he was trying to hype up the Padres’ manager!

Small moments like that speak volumes, especially of a young rookie.

So many swings and misses.

The other big takeaway from his start is best explained by this beautiful visual.

That’s not his final pitch chart, it was tweeted out near the end of Lucchesi’s start, it tells a very positive story.

The deception from his delivery and plus-movement on his pitches led to a lot of swings and misses on pitches off the plate. What is the most important ingredient to generating those swings and misses? Hitting the corners early in the start.

According to Brooks Baseball, Lucchesi produced a 27% whiff rate on his breaking pitches and just over 12% on his fastballs.

Through three starts, Lucchesi is has produced a 1.72 ERA, 2.55 FIP, while only 28% of batted balls against him have been hard-hit balls.

Next: The Padres Have A New Bullpen Leader

We don’t want to get too excited over this start to the season, but the Padres have a good one in Joey Lucchesi. Stay tuned, folks!