Buckeye to Take on Dodgers on ESPN
Cory Luebke's much-anticipated MLB Debut didn't go as planned receiving a loss in his first start, but the former Buckeye ace showed enough to warrant one more start.
On Friday the 2007 Big Ten Pitcher of the Year toed the rubber for the San Diego Padres, getting thrown into the fire of a Major League pennant race, and there was no doubt Luebke had a bit of adrenaline.
"I was disappointed because I think I should have done better," said Luebke. "But I had a little adrenaline going. I was kind of rushing things and wasn't hitting my spots."
The end result would see Luebke go five innings, allowing four runs off five hits, including two-run home runs to both Jason Giambi and Troy Tulowitzki, while walking two, plunking a batter, with three strikeouts. After the home runs accounted for a pair of runs in each the second and third innings, Luebke settled down to retire the final nine batters he faced.
Following the game Padres manager Bud Black praised the former Buckeye while alluding to potential debut butterflies. "His stuff was good," Black said. "I think you could tell he was a little bit nervous, as expected."
At the time no decision was made on when, if, Luebke would next make a start for the Padres, but now we know. On Wednesday Luebke will go for his first win as he will again take the mound for the Padres on the Petco Park mound, this time against the Los Angeles Dodgers. As San Diego has seen there National League West lead shrink as they are in the midst of the nine-game losing streak, Luebke will again pitch in a pressure packed situation.
This time in front of a national audience.
The game Wednesday night will be on ESPN at 10:00 PM Eastern. Adding more spice to an already savory matchup is the fact Luebke will be squaring off against another Ohio product as the Dodgers will send out Defiance native Chad Billingsley.
The Padres have made no official word on Luebke's future, leaving it to a "see as we go approach". If Luebke shines on Wednesday another start would surely follow. The back-end of the Padres rotation after ace Mat Latos, Clayton Richard, and Jon Garland have been in disarray for the last month, meaning the opportunity is there for Luebke to be a permanent fixture in the Padres rotation and even see time in the playoffs if the Padres were to advance, if shown he is a more viable option than Wade LeBlanc, and/or Kevin Correia.
For now, it is one start at a time, and Wednesday's though thousands of miles away will have many, especially in the Northwest portion, in Ohio tuned in.
Luebke and Billingsley represent the cream of the crop in Ohio pitching products as Billingsley was a first-round draft pick in 2003 out of Defiance HS, and of course Luebke a first-round selection after his outstanding Buckeye career.