Yankees’ bullpen rises to the occasion as they steal win over Royals

lucas luetge, yankees

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 he’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 he’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 we’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,” he said. “Hopefully those guys continue to progress and are part of the mix in short order here.”

Gio Urshela and Gleyber Torres are both dealing with injury, and likely won’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.

New York Yankees Recap: Tyler Wade powers the Yankees to the series win over the Royals

New York Yankees, Tyler Wade

Today the New York Yankees went for the win of the series, a rubber game for both teams at 2:10 pm EDT. The Yankees had no pitcher available for the game, so they put together a bullpen game led by Lucas Luetge as an opener in his first-ever major league start and other relievers to get the win. Before the game, the Yankees announced that yet another Yankee, Clay Holmes, was put on the Covid list. The Yankees won the series and today’s game 5-2.

As in many games, DJ LeMahieu headed up a lineup missing several regular players, including newly acquired Anthony Rizzo. Brady Singer was on the mound for the Royals facing LeMahieu, who walked on five pitches. Brett Gardner struck out. Aaron Judge singled to centerfield. Joey Gallo walked to load the bases with Yankees. Luke Voit singled to right center, scoring LeMahieu and Judge. With men on the corners and still only one out, Odor lined out to left, scoring Gallo. Andrew Velaquez ground into a double play, but the Yankees got the 3 run early lead.

At the bottom of the first inning, Lucas Luetge started his first major league game by facing Whit Merrifield, who singled up the middle. Merrifield stole second for his 33rd straight stolen base. Nicky Lopez flew out to Tyler Wade playing in left field. Salvador Perez ground out with Merrifield scoring. Andrew Benintendi struck out swinging. New York Yankees 3 Kansas City Royals 1.

The second inning was led off by Tyler Wade, who struck out swinging. Rob Brantly singled up the middle. LeMahieu singled to left, moving Brantly to second with one out. Gardner, who has had a .380 OBP of late, flew out to the warning track in center with LeMahieu moving to third base. Judge popped out to second the end the half leaving two on base. At the bottom, Hunter Dozier singled off Velaquez’s glove at short. Ryan O’Hearn flew out to left. Michael Taylor flew out to right. Hunter Dozier stole second. Emmanuel Rivera flew out to left. Yankees 3 Royals 1.

Joey Gallo led off the third inning for the Yankees and walked. Voit followed by hitting into a 6-4-3 double play. Odor doubled to the left-field wall. Velaquez ground out to first. The bottom saw the new Yankee pitcher Albert Abreu facing Cam Galagher, who struck out looking. Merrifield singled again, this one to left. The Yankees were watching for him to steal again. However, Abreu balked with Merrifield moving to second. Lopez ground out to short, Merrifield advanced to third. Perez struck out swinging. Yankees 3 Royals 1.

The fourth inning was led off by Tyler Wade, who had a lead-off stand-up double to right. Brantly flew out to right. Wade stole third base. LeMahieu went up the middle, scoring Wade. Gardner ripped one to the center, moving LeMahieu to second. Judge hit one to center, scoring Brandly with Gardner being called out at third. That was the end of it for starter Singer. Next, Richard Lovelady faced Gallo, who made a sky-high out to shallow center.

At the bottom of the fourth, with Abreu still on the mound, Benintendi ground out. Dozier singled in front of Gardner in the center. O’Hearn singled to center. Taylor, with two on and one out, went down swinging. Rivera went down swinging and leaving two Royals on base. New York Yankees 5 Kansas City 1.

Luke Voit led off the fifth by striking out. Odor had an infield pop out. Velaquez singled through the left field and attempted to steal second, made it, but over slid the base for the final out. At the bottom, Gallagher got a lead-off double down the left-field line against Abreu. Merrifield flew out to left, but Wade made the diving catch. Gallagher moved to third. Joely Rodriguez replaced Abreu and faced Lopez, who reached on an E6 with Gallagher scoring. Perez hit into a double play ending the inning. Yankees 5 Royals 2.

Tyler Wade led off the sixth inning against Domingo Tapia and walked. Brantly skied to left for the first out. Wade stole second and reached third on an E2. LeMahieu struck out, and Gardner lined out directly to first base. Benintendi led off the bottom and walked against J-Rod, ending his day. Dozier faced Chad Green and struck out swinging. O’Hearn struck out looking. Taylor popped out to Voit. Yankees 5 Royals 2.

The seventh inning was led off by Aaron Judge against Jake Brentz and went down on strikes. Gallo flew out to left. Voit went down looking for a 1-2-3 inning for Brentz. At the bottom, Rivera popped out to second. Gallagher reached on a throwing error by Odor overthrowing Voit. Merrifield singled before Wade in left. Gallagher went to third on the play. On his 34th stolen base attempt, Merrifield was called out by Velaquez, which was upheld upon review. Lopez went down swinging. New York Yankees 5 Royals 2.

With Greg Holland on the mound for the eighth, Odor flew out to center. Velaquez popped out. Wade doubled for the second time in the game. Brantly ground out to end the half. At the bottom, Perez against Jonathan Loaisiga, the Yankee’s fifth pitcher, ground out to Wade, then playing third. Benintendi ground out to second. Dozier struck out swinging as Loaisiga put down the Royals in order. New York Yankees 5 Royals 2.

At the top of the ninth, it was the top of the lineup for the Yankees. LeMahieu faced Ervin Santana and ground out to short. Gardner flew out to the centerfield wall. Judge ground out to third to end the half. Zack Britton came for the Yankees to close it out. O’Hearn got hit in the back by Britton. Taylor with O’Hearn on first singled, but O’Hearn was out at second. Rivera reached on another Yankee error the third of the game an E5 on Odor. Santana hit into a double play bringing the Yankees another series win, their eleventh off the Royals.

The final score was the New York Yankees 5 and the Kansas City Royals 2. The winning pitcher was Chad Green; the loser was Brady Singer. Zack Britton got his first save of the year.

 

 

 

 

 

New York Yankees: Takeaways from the Yankees crushing loss in Red Sox finale

Last night at Yankee Stadium, the New York Yankees faced the Boston Red Sox in the final game of the homestand. The Red Sox had won the first two games of the series. The Yankees hoped that Domingo German could salvage the last game for them. He faced the Red Sox pitcher Garrett Richards. Entering the game, the Yankees were 5 1/2 games out of first place in the AL East. The Tampa Bay Rays led the East with the Boston Red Sox one game behind. It was a hot, humid night at the Stadium. The Red Sox completed the sweep with a crushing 6-5 win in the 10th inning.

Another Yankee pitcher has a rough start.

In the first inning, Domingo German faced Danny Santana, who ground out. But then Alex Verdugo homered to right-center. But the Yankee offense saved him for the moment when Gary Sanchez hit the left-field wall in the bottom of the inning for a double scoring two Yankees for the one-run lead. Yankees 2 Red Sox 1.

For the second night in a row, the Yankee bullpen failed. First, it was Chad Green yesterday and Lucas Luetge last night. Then, in the seventh inning, a 3-1 lead disappeared when LHP Luetge surrendered a two-run home run to Marwin Gonzalez, tying the game up. He was replaced by Wandy Peralta, who allowed a sac fly putting the Sox a game leading up.

Timely hitting remains a problem.

The Yankee hitters actually hit in the game for a change, but not in a timely fashion. Bringing runners home continued to be a problem; they went 3 for 12 with runners in scoring position. They got 11 hits in the game, but not at the right time. They continue to hit ground balls, leading to double plays. Conversely the Red Sox had only y 7 hits in the game but won it with timely hitting. In the Red Sox 3 game series, the Yankees went 3 for 20 with men in scoring position, leaving a total of 23 men on base.

At the bottom of the ninth, Aaron Judge worked a one-out walk. He scored from first on Torres’ double down the left-field line, tying the game at 4-4.

Umpiring again nails the New York Yankees

With Rougie Odor at the plate, he got a strike three call that was obviously far inside. Odor stood in disbelief. In their propensity to throw out Yankees, the umpires, home plate umpire Gabe Morales tossed Phile Nevins from the dugout when he balked at the call. They also throw out Carlos Mendoza, who was coaching at third base. In a previous game of the homestand home plate umpire, Whitson threw out manager Aaron Boone when he showed frustration when his pitcher wasn’t getting the same calls that the opposition was enjoying.

The Yankees are in deep trouble

The New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone continually says he has faith in the Yankee lineup and knows what they can do. But frustration is starting to creep in. This is the first time that the Boston Red Sox has swept the Yankees at Yankee Stadium in over a decade. Boone says the team has to get better, but the opposite is true; they are only getting worse. After their fourth loss in a row, the Yankees have slipped 6 1/2 games back of the division-leading Tampa Bay Rays, another team they can’t beat. They are now lost 10 of 13 games at the Stadium.

“It’s an awful week for us, culminating in the end of this homestand,’’ Aaron Boone said. “We’ve got to get right. We’ve got to get better. It starts now on the road as we head to Minnesota.”

At this point in the season, with over a third of the games already played, I earlier said that this homestand would be telling and could be a turning point in the season, allowing the Yankees to edge up in the standings; unfortunately, the reverse has happened. The Yankees had dug themselves deeper into a hole. If the Yankees don’t start hitting soon, it will be a hole they can’t dig themselves out of.

 

New York Yankees: Lucas Luetge has turned into a valuable bullpen piece

lucas luetge, yankees

After a surprisingly strong Spring Training, the New York Yankees signed 34-year-old Lucas Luetge to the 40-man roster with a spot on the Opening Day squad. Luetge hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2015 with the Seattle Mariners and had spent time bouncing between different organizations up until then.

The Yankees didn’t really have any expectations for Luetge when the season began, but he’s quickly forced the team to have some. In 13 appearances, Luetge has pitched phenomenally, going 2-0 with a 3.26 ERA. With his exit velocity and hard-hit rate each in the 90th percentile, Luetge has an xERA of 2.66 with an XBA of .222.

What makes Luetge unique from most other Yankee relievers is that he doesn’t rely on his velocity to get outs. His fastball tops off at around 90 mph, so he relies on his stuff to retire batters. Luetge is in the 94th percentile of chase rate, the 97th percentile of fastball spin, and the 80th percentile of curveball spin.

After giving up runs in his first five appearances, Luetge has now gone eight straight appearances without surrendering a run. He’s given up just four hits since April 20 and has struck out seven in that span. Luetge has elevated into a high-leverage role with both Darren O’Day and Zack Britton on the IL, and so far, he’s thrived in it. Ever since he got out some of his MLB return jitters, Luetge has been one of the most effective relievers in Major League Baseball.

Although it’s a small sample size, Lucas Luetge is showing that he may be Brian Cashman’s next “diamond in the rough”. He’s performed well in pinstripes thus far, and the Yankees will continue to turn to him as the heart of the season approaches.

New York Yankees: 4 major takeaways from Yankees second win over the Indians

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Santon

Yankee bats come alive

In September of 2020, the New York Yankees hit 19 home runs in a sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays in just three games. That was when Luke Voit was on his mission to hit the most homers in all of baseball. Voit is now rehabbing from knee surgery and is sorely missed not having hit a single home run this season.

In just one game on September 17th, the Yankees hit 6 home runs (Gardner, LeMahaieu, Stanton, Voit, Torres, and Sanchez). I can’t report on anything like that, but last night in Cleveland, Ohio, the New York Yankees hit four homers in one game for the first time this season for a team that has had mostly silent bats since the beginning of the season. The Yankees won the game 5-3 to string two wins in a row together.

Montgomery quickly gets in and out of trouble

Last night Jordan Montgomery had his fourth start of the season, and it was his worst. In the first inning, he had no command of his pitches. In just that one inning, he gave up three runs using 37 pitches, with no outlook to go deeply into the game and save the bullpen. In the second inning, a new Montgomery took to the mound giving up no runs and allowing the New York Yankees to stay in the game.

This may seem like a horrible start, but in fact, it wasn’t because he would go on to pitch the next 3.1 innings scoreless, striking out 5 Indians in the game. After the 37 pitch inning, he went on to pitch into the fifth inning, saving the bullpen of having to pitch as much as 8 innings. What was most encouraging is, and is the sign of a good pitcher, is that after a horrible first inning, he was able to pull it together and grind it out; meanwhile, the Yankees managed to tie up the game. Last night was the second night in a row that a Yankee starter (German) got in trouble in the first inning but allowed the Yankees to win.

Yankee bullpen continues to shine

The New York Yankees have the best bullpen in baseball, at least that’s what the stats say. They have a best in baseball ERA of 2.19. Last night Lucas Luetge, Darren O’Day, Chad Green, and Aroldis Chapman combined to allow no runs and only one hit in 4.1 innings. Aroldis Chapman had the most trouble closing the game than he has in any game this season, walking a batter but in the end, was successful in getting the save. Chapman is installing new confidence from fans this season with his new splitter pitch.

In seven games (seven innings), Chapman has yet to give up a home run. He has struck out 17 of 21 batters faced.  That 22.5 strikeouts per nine innings. In this first seven games of the season, his ERA is 0.00.

In an interesting side story, last night, Lucas Luetge got the win. What is so remarkable about the win is that it’s his first win in seven years (2013). Until the Yankees hired Luetge, he spent the last five years in the minor leagues trying to work his way back to the majors. Last night must have been an extraordinary night for the 34-year-old reliever.

Giancarlo Stanton hit two home runs last night

Last night was quite a night for Giancarlo Stanton. Early in this season, Stanton has shown sparks of his 2017 MVP season, but after going 2 for 24 before last night, he hit two home runs in the Yankee win over the Indians. Throughout the season, Stanton has been showing better disciple at the plate, and the fruits of his efforts are beginning to show big time. He now leads the teams with 5 home runs in just 16 games played.

If Stanton continues at this pace, he could hit over 50 home runs this season, and that’s not a pipe dream because he only seems to be getting better. The only question is if he can stay healthy. So far in the season, manager Aaron Boone has avoided using him in the field. Slugger Aaron Judge is just behind him with 4 homers on the season. Other players hitting home runs last night were Aaron Hicks (2) and Rougie Odor (2).

 

New York Yankees Recap: Yankees lose to the Rays in their worst game yet

New York Yankees, Nick Nelson

Tonight the New York Yankees met up with the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium for the second series of the young season. In their first meeting, the Rays took 2 of 3 games from the Yankees. Nick Nelson took the mound with tensions high between these two teams as the Yankee’s opener against The Ray’s reliever Michael Wacha. Never pitcher has fared very well in the season so far. It was a chilly and raw evening at Yankee Stadium at game time. At least the field wasn’t covered in snow as it was for the Red Sox at Coor’s Field in Colorado. The Yankees lost the game 8-2.

Austin Meadows led off for the Rays against Nick Nelson at the top of the first inning. Randy Aronarena singled down the left-field line, and Meadows went to third base. Brendon Lowe doubled, scoring Meadows and Aronarena for the two-run Rays lead. Diaz ground out, but Lowe advanced to third base. Joey Wendle with a man on and one out struck out. Margot walked. Michael Brosseau struck out, but the Rays picked up two runs for the Rays lead. At the bottom, DJ LeMahieu lined out sharply to shot, and Aaron Judge struck out. Gleyber Torres ground out to end the -2-3 inning for Wacha. Rays 2 Yankees 0.

Michael King led off for the Yankees and replaced Nick Nelson that only lasted one inning, giving up two runs. Adames singled. Mike Zunino struck out. Meadows struck out, and Arozarena lined out to short to end the half for a perfect second for King. Giancarlo Stanton led off the bottom for the Yankees, and he popped out to first. Gio Urshela got a one-out single to right.  Aaron Hicks struck out. Gary Sanchez lined out to third to end the inning. Rays 2 Yankees 0.

Against Michael King, Lowe was hit by a pitch in the third. Diaz singles, and Lowe went to third. Joey Wendle, who struck out in the first inning, stuck out. Margot lined out, but the ball hit Diaz on an error by Odor. Brosseau struck out, getting King out of trouble and leaving two Rays on base. At the bottom, Clint Frazier led off striking out as his early-season struggles continued. Rougned Odor struck out. Lemahieu lined out to Arozarena to end the inning.

Willie Adames lined out for the first out of the fourth inning Mike Zunino grounded out to third, and Austin Meadows walked. Arozareno walked. Brendon Lowe walked for three straight walks for King. Diaz hit up the middle to Odor for the final out, leaving the bases loaded with Rays. Aaron Judge led off the bottom, striking out. Torres walked. Stanton and Gio Urshela went down on strikes. The Yankees have only been able to get one hit in the first four innings. Rays 2 New York Yankees 0.

With Luis Cessa replacing Michael King, who had three shut-out innings, Joey Wendle started the fifth inning by beating out a throw by Urshela for a single. Margot struck out. Brosseau hit one down the left-field line for a double, scoring Wendle for the 3 run lead over the Yankees. Adames doubled, and Brosseau beat out a throw to home for another Rays run. Zunino walked on four pitches. Meadows walked, loading the bases for the Yankees’ seventh walk of the game. Arozareno doubled at the Yankees failed to make a double play scoring two Ray’s runs for the six-run Yankees shutout. Lowe struck out the Rays lead the game 6-0.

At the bottom of the fifth Aaron Hicks against Aaron Hicks, Wacha through four had allowed only one Yankee hit. Hicks popped out to the infield. Sanchez struck out. Clint Frazier, who looks lost at the plate lately, struck out for a 1-2-3 inning for Wacha. Rays 6 Yankees 0.

At the top of the sixth, Diaz led off against the New York Yankee’s Lucas Luetge, and Diaz singled. Wendle singled. Margot singled to load the bases with no outs. Brosseau drove to short, and the throw was in time to get Diaz. Adames popple out to Urshela. Zunino flew to left, and Frazier couldn’t get to it, and another two Ray’s runs scoring for the 8 run Rays lead. Meadows flew out to Hick to finally end the half, but it’s the Rays 8 and the Yankees 0. At the bottom, Odor walked. LeMahieu popped out to the infield. Aaron Judge hit into a double play to end the ending as the Yankees again failed to score. Rays 8 Yankees 0.

Arozarena led off the seventh inning off Luetge, grounding out to Urshela. Lowe flew out. Diaz flew out for the first inning. The Yankees put down the Rays 1-2-3. At the bottom, Torres picked up a single. Stanton hit a no-doubter to center to get the Yankees 2 runs on the board. Urshela lined out. Hicks lined directly to first for two outs. Sanchez struck out to end the inning, but the Yankees finally got on the board with two runs. Rays 8 Yankees 2.

Luetge out for his third inning allowed Wendle a single. Margot hit into a 1-4-3 double play for two outs. The Rays challenged, but the out was maintained. Brosseau lined out to the pitcher for the final out of the half. Frazier led off the bottom, but frustrated fans started to throw balls out onto the field, halting the game. Frazier, after play resumed, struck out for the third time in the game. Odor flew out to the far center. LeMahieu struck out, going 0 for 4 on the night. That ended the inning. Ray 8 Yankees 2.

At the top of the eighth, Kyle Higashiokia took over for Sanchez behind the plate. Willie Adames led off for the Rays by striking out. Zunino struck out. Meadows allowed Luetge to strike out Ray’s side. At the bottom of the inning, with the last licks on the line for the Yankees, Aaron Judge led off the half by grounding out. Torres struck out, and Stanton followed with another strikeout to end the game. The final score was the Tampa Bay Rays 8 and the New York Yankees 2. The winning pitcher was Michael Wacha, and the loser was Nick Nelson.

 

 

 

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New York Yankees Player Profiles: Lucas Luetge, the long road back (video)

Yesterday, the New York Yankees met up with the Toronto Blue Jays for game 2 of the 2021 baseball season. It was a great day for the Yankees; they won the game 5-3. But for one guy on the team, the day was a dream come true. For the first time in almost six years, Lucas Luetge made it back onto a major league mound. Before yesterday, the last time Luetge was in a major league game was in 2015.

On March 24th, Luetge turned 34 years old, having been born in 1987. He was born in Brenham, Texas, a small town in Texas where half the population comprises college students attending Blinn College. [1] He attended Bellville High School and played baseball for the Owls while attending Rice University.

The Milwaukee Brewers drafted Luetge in the 2008 draft. In December of 2011, he was selected by the Seattle Mariner in Rule 5 Draft. On June 8, 2012, he was one of six pitchers in a not-hit game against the Dodgers. In 2015 he signed a minor league contract with the Angels. In 2016 he again signed a minor league contract, this time with the Cinncinati Reds. The following year he signed with the Baltimore Orioles. His biggest break came in 2019 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He pitched in 55 games with a record of 9-3 with a 2.38 ERA. In December of 2020, he signed a minor-league deal with the New York Yankees.

New York Yankees assistant GM Mike Fishman pursued Lucas Luetge each of the past two years and signed him to a minor league deal this offseason; he said, “A lot of people are talking about him [in camp]. He is opening eyes with how he is performing — and the quality of the stuff, too. He has swing-and-miss pitches.” Luetge has been trying to get from the minors to the majors for the last six years. He did it for just one game back in 2015. He pitched 2 1/2 innings of shutout ball. But his return to the majors has been elusive.

One of the problems holding Luetge back has been his inability to get righties out. However, now late in his career, he is doing just that. 8 of his 13 strikeouts have been against right-hand hitters. Manager Aaron Boone has been gushing over Luetge. When talking about the Luetge slider, he had this to say:

Boone about Luetge’s slider to Sports Illustrated’s Max Goodman, saying “It’s a really good breaking ball, it’s a swing-and-miss breaking ball. He’s got all the spin numbers that take you back a little bit. Even though he’s not overpowering with the fastball, the fastball really plays as well.”

As CBS Sports’ Mike Axisa reports, Boone’s claims ring true through the spring training pitch data. Luetge has radically boosted the spin rate on each of his three offerings to well past the MLB average, especially his slider, giving them a late-life that has left anyone lucky enough to watch him toss in person awestruck.

He came to the Yankees spring training as a non-roster invitee. During the spring, he turned heads, striking out 18 over just 10.1 innings. Even so, it still didn’t appear that he would make the 26 man roster.  As fate would have it, he got his big break when Justin Wilson was injured, and Luetge was added to the roster. Yesterday he got into his first game for the game; he gave up one run in one inning of work, striking out one Blue Jay. Manager Aaron Boone had this to say about Luetge:

“He came into camp and had expectations around him, but there was some really good competition,’’ manager Aaron Boone said. “We could have gone a lot of different ways going into that spot. It’s hard to deny what Lucas has done from the start of camp. He pushed his way onto the roster and I’m excited to see what he can do for us.”

Please make no mistake about it; Luetge will have to work his tail off with good results to stay on the team once Justin Wilson is ready to return. But for the short term, nobody is as happy as he to be on the major league mound again.

Yankees: Disappointing Miguel Andujar injury news shouldn’t damper Opening Day

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar

The New York Yankees are just a few hours away from Opening Day against the Toronto Blue Jays at 1:05 PM. While the weather report calls for rain, the Yankees are expected to walk out ace Gerrit Cole against Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Cole, who finished his first season with the Yankees in 2020, is coming off the campaign where he hosted a 3.17 ERA, striking out 239 batters and allowing 63 runs. While Cole did have a few issues during spring training, he normally utilizes that time to develop some of his weaknesses, relying on his strengths the second the regular season starts and games officially matter.

However, the Yankees did experience a few negatives ahead of their first game of the season on Thursday afternoon. Several players are hitting the injured list, including depth infielder Miguel Andujar, who will sit out for 10 days with right wrist carpal tunnel syndrome.

In addition, Zack Britton was placed on the 60-day injured list, Luke Voit on the 10-day injured list with a left knee medial meniscus injury, and Justin Wilson on the 10-day injured list for left shoulder information.

What will the Yankees do with Andujar now?

An unfortunate bout for Andujar, who only experienced 15 at-bats this spring, earning a .133 batting average with just two hits. Miguel is fighting for a spot on the active roster but hasn’t found his spot defensively on the team, despite being given multiple opportunities. The Yankees view him as a supplement in the outfield and at third base, even at second if DJ LeMahieu were to go down. He’s essentially a below-average utility player with solid offensive prowess but struggled in 2020 to get going.

Luckily for the Yankees, they are primarily healthy going into the regular season, and while they did have a scare with Aaron judge and an illness, he’s expected to be 100% and ready to go against Toronto.

One exciting piece of news is that relief pitcher Lucas Luetge officially signed a major league contract and joined the team after proving to be an asset this spring. Lucas earned a 1.74 ERA over 10.1 innings this off-season, striking out 18 batters and allowing two runs. Overall, he was stellar and will likely fill in, in the absence of Justin Wilson and Zack Britton.

Yankees give spot to Lucas Luetge, finalize roster

The New York Yankees made their final decision on their 26-man Opening Day roster, giving him the last spot to left-handed reliever Lucas Luetge, who impressed during spring training play. He hasn’t pitched in Major League Baseball since 2015.

Luetge worked hard, using the Yankees’ resources, to increase the spin rate on all of his pitches, giving his fastball more ride and his breaking balls more bite. The prize for his hard work is a spot on the Yankees’ bullpen.

Luetge will be replacing fellow lefty Justin Wilson, who will start the season on the injured list after experience some left shoulder tightness for the past few days.

Kuetge impressed the Yankees

The veteran reliever was excellent during Grapefruit League play, striking out 18 batters in just 10.1 innings of work. He only walked a couple of batters and finished the month of March with a sparkling 1.74 ERA.

Even rival scouts who watched Luetge pitch said that he made batters look silly at nearly all times, so he will try to be more than just a mop-up guy in the Yankees’ bullpen.

He will join Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green, Darren O’Day, Luis Cessa, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Nick Nelson in the bullpen to start the season.

Zack Britton and Justin Wilson will eventually return to action once they are recovered from their respective injuries, so Luetge will have to perform and impress in order to keep his roster spot for the long term.

Here is the Yankees’ 26-man roster to open the season:

C: Gary Sanchez, Kyle Higashioka

Infielders: Jay Bruce, Tyler Wade, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, Gio Urshela

Outfielders: Mike Tauchman, Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Clint Frazier

Starters: Gerrit Cole, Corey Kluber, Domingo German, Jordan Montgomery, Jameson Taillon

Relievers: Chad Green, Aroldis Chapman, Nick Nelson, Lucas Luetge, Darren O’Day, Luis Cessa, Jonathan Loaisiga, Michael King.

New York Yankees Analysis: “The Big Three,” Cole, Kluber, and Taillon

By now, all New York Yankee fans know that the Yankees have completely revamped the starting rotation. For those more casual fans who don’t know, the Yankees let the bulk of the pitchers walk into free agency and made no known offers to retain any of them at the end of the season. Masahiro Tanaka is now pitching in Korea, James Paxton is back with the Seattle Mariners, and J.A. Happ is with the Minnesota Twins.

During the 2019/20 offseason, the New York Yankees went to California and lured arguably the best pitcher in baseball, Gerrit Cole, to become a Yankee. This offseason, they contracted two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber and traded with the Indians for Jameson Taillon, another top of the heap starter. (Taillon is pronounced TIEown)

Just like the “core 4” was really the core 5 with Bernie Williams, the “Big Three” may also be a misnomer because, in addition to the three, the Yankees also have holdovers Jordan Montgomery, Domingo German, and eventually Luis Severino. Before we get too cheery about this rotation, there is a bugaboo involved, that being Kluber and Taillon’s health. They both have had health issues in the past two years. Kluber was hit by a pitch in 2019 and only pitched one inning last year, suffering a should issue. Taillon is coming back from his second Tommy John surgery.

So far, the health issues seem to be in the past, and both of these guys seem entirely healthy in spring training; hopefully, the fact that they haven’t pitched in the past two years won’t be an issue, and they will return to their previous form. If that is the case, the Yankees could have one of the most feared starting rotations in baseball.

With the season’s Opening Day just a few days away, two of the best performing pitchers are not in the “Big Three.” German leads the entire pack, pitching 9 innings without allowing a run while striking out 13 opponents. Montgomery has the second-lowest ERA, a tiny 0.90. As of today, the Yankee pitching rotation has the 4th lowest ERA in all of baseball.

It’s important to realize that these are spring training numbers and may not translate to the regular season. Pitchers often try out new pitches and make adjustments that can affect their stats in spring training. Many pitchers such as Gerrit Cole have always pitched better during the regular season than the spring stats. Spring training is just a snippet of what might happen in the regular season. Wins and losses mean nothing.

Domingo German:

Domingo German, who did not pitch at all last year due to suspension, has by far been the New York Yankees’ best pitcher in spring training. He looks good, looks confident, and is healthy. In three starts and 9 innings pitched, he has a zero ERA. He has allowed 5 hits while being a strikeout machine, striking out 13. He has had excellent control walking only one across the span. These numbers are also too good to be believed and probably won’t continue, but if his spring performance is any indication, he could very well be the season’s best pitcher. In 2019 he was 18-4 and could have had a 20 game season had it not be cut short.

Jordan Montgomery:

At one point, many in the know thought that Jordan Montgomery could be the next great Yankees pitcher, which has never come to fruition, mostly because of his Tommy John surgery which greatly held him back. Now two years removed from the surgery, “Monty” is this spring’s second-best performing pitcher.  His ERA is 0.90 in three games for a total of 10 innings. He has allowed only 4 hits. He needs to tune up his command; he has allowed walks to 3 batters. This could be Montgomery’s break-out year.

Jameson Taillon:

Taillon holds down the number 3 spot for spring training performance and a solid one at that. Since his second Tommy John surgery, Taillon has made adjustments to his delivery to ease up arm strain. So far during the spring, he has looked great. Very strong and very confident. His ERA is a tiny 1.08. He has pitched 8.1 innings allowing 9 hits, but at the same time striking out more batters than any Yankee pitcher (14) other than Gerrit Cole. Taillon will probably be the number three starter for the Yankees. How he ends up is anyone’s guess. The trio of German, Montgomery, and Taillon has not allowed a home run this spring.

Corey Kluber:

Kluber will be the number two starter by most reports. He also has the second worse ERA of any of the starters, sitting at 1.86. Please make no mistake, we use the word worse very loosely, and an ERA of 1.86 at the end of the season would make what the Yankees paid for him worth at least twice that amount. Over 9.2 innings, he has allowed 9 hits, 2 earned runs while striking out 9. What is most important with Kluber is that he feels great and is healthy. If he stays that way, he could have a Cy Young season.

Gerrit Cole:

Gerrit Cole could be best described as a work in progress. Cole is known for trying out new things and refining others in spring training. He has had his last start of the spring and is easily the New York Yankee’s worst-performing starter. But that being said, if he continued at his present rate, the Yankees would be tickled with a 2.45 ERA over the season.

His biggest problem in the spring has been giving up the long ball (3) only second to Deivi Garcia demoted to the minors. The big difference between the two is that Cole has the most strikeouts of any starter (24). However, it concerns that those home runs dog him. Surely something he will look to fix in the regular season. With Cole’s 3.19 career ERA, the Yankees are certainly not worried about how Cole will perform in the regular season.

Although this article is about the Yankees starters, it would not be fair not to mention the big three Yankee reliever standouts. Jonathan Loaisiga has been a huge bright spot for the Yankees during the spring. He has pitched in six games with the most innings of any reliever and has an ERA of 1.36. He has allowed only 6 hits across 13.1 innings while striking out 10 and walking only 2. If any Yankee starter becomes injured, the Yankees will surely consider Loaisiga as a replacement.

Lucas Luetge was picked up over the offseason. He has been terrific for the Yankees. He has struck out more hitters than any reliever (18). His ERA is 1.74, and if it weren’t for one game, he would not have any ERA, but in one outing, he gave up two home runs. Nick Nelson is another standout this spring. Nelson has an ERA of 1.04, has not given up a home run, and has struck out 9 batters.

The Yankees going into the regular season have never looked so good since they acquired CC Sabathia. That was 2009 the last time the Yankees won a World Series. One huge thing missing from this article is that no starter or reliever mentioned has an ERA over 2.45. This is enormous for the New York Yankees; if they can maintain this and stay healthy, the Yankees have a great chance to be on their way to a 28th World Championship.