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Lucas Luetge was a pleasant surprise [2021 Season Review]

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No one expected Lucas Luetge to make the big league team out of camp, let alone remain on the roster for the entire 162 games. And yet, that’s exactly what the veteran left hander did. An incredible Grapefruit League performance turned heads and earned him a spot on the Yankees’ Opening Day roster. Luetge rewarded the team’s faith with a 2.74 ERA and 2.84 FIP across 72.1 innings.

On paper, the Yankees’ bullpen looked terrific entering 2021. They didn’t need much more help with the likes of Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, Chad Green, and Jonathan Loáisiga expected to handle the late innings. Things changed over time due to injuries (Britton) and performance variations (Chapman), but for the most part, the back-end of the bullpen didn’t need help. So when Luetge proved to be very effective, albeit more so in the middle frames rather than late in games, the rich got richer.

Game 114: The D-team gets it done

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When it seems like half of the current 26-man roster has COVID and the Yankees are running out names in the lineup that even die-hard fans barely recognize, you might see “bullpen day” and think the team is throwing in the towel.  Not so.  The Triple-A Yankees and Everyone in the Bullpen got it done today, beating the Kansas City Royals 5-2 to cement a series win before heading out to Iowa to play baseball in a cornfield.  To the takeaways:

Game 111: Gil impresses again but gets no run support

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The Yankees remain allergic to the sweep. I know they swept Miami just last weekend, but this has been a constant issue all year long. Today, they lost 2-0 to the Mariners with a chance for the rare four game sweep. Oh well. At least Boston lost again, but it was at the hands of the Blue Jays, who are now just a half game behind the Yanks. Tampa Bay won too, moving six games up on the Yankees in the loss column.

Today’s loss is mostly on the offense, which went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Aaron Boone didn’t put his best foot forward with the bullpen in the eighth inning, but at the same time, it’s impossible to win without scoring a run (obviously). Hey, at least Luis Gil looked very good once again. Let’s get to the takeaways:

Game 39: Yankees easily beat O’s on Preakness Saturday

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This one was over early. Staked with a 5-0 lead after the 2nd inning, hopefully most of you were able to enjoy this beautiful Saturday evening at peace knowing that the Yankees would once again beat the lowly Orioles.

A 2-run single by Gary Sánchez (more on him later) gave the Yankees a 3 run lead before Domingo Germán even toed the rubber tonight. With this 8-2 victory, the Bombers are now a season high five games over .500 at 22-17 and have secured another series win, their 5th in a row. Here are the takeaways from tonight’s laugher.

Lucas Luetge has proven he belongs

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No one seriously thought Lucas Luetge, a random non-roster invitee, would make a significant impact on the Yankees in 2021. I noted nothing other than the “ex-big leaguer” qualifier to describe him when the Yankees announced its NRIs in February. And yet, it didn’t take long to take notice of Luetge’s Grapefruit League dominance, which has carried over to a strong regular season start.

Last night’s clean outing was the southpaw’s sixth consecutive scoreless appearance. It dropped his ERA and FIP to 3.78 and 3.95, respectively, in 16.2 innings. While those run prevention numbers don’t jump out, keep in mind that Luetge got off to a slow start. He surrendered a run in each of his first five outings, though not all of them were bad performances. Initially, it looked like Luetge would settle in to a low leverage relief role, which isn’t a bad outcome considering how long he’d been out of the majors (2015!). But yesterday, Aaron Boone threw him right into the fire.

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