Liam Hendriks named American League Reliever of the Month for May

Liam Hendriks celebrates a Chicago White Sox win. (Photo: Chicago White Sox)

West Australian Liam Hendriks has been rewarded for his efforts on the mound in the month of May, claiming Major League Baseball’s American League Reliever of the Month.

It’s the third time in Hendriks’ MLB career that he’s received the American League Reliever of the Month, also earning the honour with the Oakland Athletics in June 2019 and August 2020.

In the last month, the 2020 American League Reliever of the Year pitched 11.2 innings in 13 games for an earned run average of 0.00. He only gave up two unearned runs from eight hits with 19 strikeouts and two walks.

More importantly, the closing pitcher converted eight save opportunities from as many attempts during the month. It put him in outright first place for saves among American League pitchers in May and equal-first league-wide.

To cap off the month, on the last weekend of May in Chicago’s doubleheader against Baltimore, the right-hander did what no other White Sox pitcher has done in a decade. He entered in the closing stages of each game and held the Orioles offense to zero as the White Sox picked up back-to-back wins that day

The 32-year-old’s performance through May was a contrast to his output in the first month of the 2021 MLB season.

In April, Hendriks began his career in Chicago with a ERA of 13.5, despite still picking up a save. He picked things up from there, finishing the month with five saves from 10 games and 10.1 innings.

From his season debut against the Los Angeles Angels on April 2, Hendriks’ ERA has been on the decline. His recent output has successfully helped the side to pick up crucial wins heading into the second half of the season and contributed to the most recent accolade.

As a result of his production on the mound last month, the Wanneroo Giants junior’s ERA now sits at 2.05 for the season as his, and Chicago’s year continues to turn around. Chicago sit first in the American League Central division with a 33-22 record.

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Hendriks moved to the Chicago White Sox from the Oakland Athletics in January on a four-year, USD$54 million (AUD$70 million) contract. Chicago marks the fifth MLB organisation he’s been a part of, beginning his career in Minnesota in 2011.

After he signed to the organisation at the start of the year, Hendriks told The Chicago Tribune that the White Sox was where we wanted to be.

“On paper the White Sox were the team that I wanted to go to, purely based on the fact that they’ve got a bunch of guys I’ve heard nothing but good things (about) in the clubhouse, which is a big thing for me,” Hendriks said.

“I’m glad to be part of this team… it’s an exciting time for Chicago sports.”

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