The New York Yankees stole a victory over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday evening, deploying a bullpen game to get the job done. Relief pitcher Lucas Luetge featured as the game’s opener, the first time heâ€™s ever been utilized in that fashion. This was considered his first-ever major-league start. With Gerrit Cole, Jordan Montgomery, Luis Severino, and Corey Kluber all finding their way back to the team, the Yankees have had no choice but to deploy a unique strategy.
The team used six bullpen pitchers over 9.0 innings on Wednesday, allowing just two runs over seven hits. Thankfully, the Yankees’ offense was able to do enough to extract the win, totaling 12 hits and five runs. Lead-off hitter DJ LeMahieu had a solid performance, recording two hits and an RBI, elevating his average to .270. LeMahieu has struggled this season at times, but heâ€™s finally starting to see the ball better and bounce back, as the Yankees desperately needed his efficiency during the second half of the season.
Slugger Aaron Judge also recorded two hits over five at-bats, driving in a run. Joey Gallo, who has struck out an exorbitant amount of times since being acquired by the Yankees, walked twice and managed to get solid contact on the ball. Starting first baseman Luke Voit recorded two RBIs on a single in the first inning, driving in Judge and LeMahieu.
As for the pitching, the Yankees picked up at nine strikeouts, with the majority coming from Albert Abreu, who lasted 2.1 innings, and Chad Green, who picked up the win.
Luckily, skipper Aaron Boone is optimistic that both Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery will be activated off the COVID-19 list this weekend.
“The guys that obviously weâ€™re missing right now are large pieces and you can start to dream a little about getting really impactful players back for us and hopefully to fortify us and set us up for the stretch run,â€ he said. â€œHopefully those guys continue to progress and are part of the mix in short order here.â€
Gio Urshela and Gleyber Torres are both dealing with injury, and likely wonâ€™t return for at least another week. But getting back to essential starting pitchers will be huge for a team looking to pick up some momentum sitting six games back in the AL East and two games back in the Wild Card standings.