Landon Marceaux has always considered himself to be a bit of a perfectionist, but LSU needs him to learn to roll with the punches a little bit better.
LSU will hand him the ball on Tuesday night at Northwestern State to begin a five-game week. The preference would be Marceaux regaining his dominant form, but if not, LSU needs to see he can keep an outing together in a hostile environment.
“He’s a perfectionist,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “I can see that about him, and I think it’s going to work very well for him. The problem is he’s pitching at a different level now, and he expects himself to be perfect on every pitch. It’s just not feasible.
“There’s a learning curve for every kid, and he needs to learn when to trust his stuff and when to be careful with his pitches.”
Success was all Marceaux has known prior arriving on campus. He was a dominant force throughout his prep days at Destrehan High and made multiple Team USA clubs. Organizations were prepared to pay him seven-figure bonuses if he would’ve agreed to sign.
The freshman right-hander did not allow a run in scrimmages throughout the fall and spring. His first career start was a gem, but he scolded himself afterword for issuing three walks.
His past two outings have been a confirmation that all pitchers — even the polished ones — go through some kind of a learning curve at this level. Marceaux endured a four-run fourth inning against Bryant and didn’t make it out of the second inning at Texas.
“I didn’t struggle too much in high school, but now I’m going to have to deal with adversity,” Marceaux said. “Adversity is going to be right in my face. What am I going to do with it? That’s the question.”
After the Texas game, Marceaux received some words of encouragement from former LSU pitcher and current Cubs prospect Alex Lange.
Lange recounted his own rocky start in the Lone Star State. TCU rocked Lange for six runs in 1.2 innings when LSU played in the Houston College Classic.
“He told me it happens to the best of us, even when we’re at our best,” Marceaux shared. “We can be at our best one day, and the hitters can be even better. It happens to everybody at a certain point. You’re not going to be great every time you go out. You just have to move on with it.”
That Texas start participated Marceaux losing his spot in the weekend rotation to fellow freshman Cole Henry, who worked four dominant innings against Cal on Saturday.
Henry will start against Kentucky this weekend provided he’s healthy. He left his start after four inning due to stiffness in his upper back, but Mainieri said he felt better Monday and that LSU believes he was just fatigued.
Mainieri is playing his cards close to the vest as for what the rotation will look like to start Southeastern Conference play.
“We have a Plan A and a Plan B,” Mainieri said. “But a lot of it has to do with how things go tomorrow with Landon. Hopefully he’s going to go out and pitch great. We’ll continue to discuss it internally over the next couple of days.”
LSU will play it by ear Tuesday night in terms of how long Marceaux stays in the game. The door is open for him to return to the weekend rotation, but that’ll depend on how well he pitches and the health of others.