The 2020 MLB season has reached the midway point, and two teams with Aussies sit atop their divisions five weeks in.
The final scheduled day of the regular season is 27 September, so there's a few weeks to go as teams battle for playoff positions in an unforgettable year.
The West Australian picked up his second win of the season but more importantly, added two to his save tally which sees him outright first among MLB pitchers with 10 saves.
On Friday, 21 August, Hendriks entered Oakland’s game against the Los Angeles Angels at the top of the ninth with the Athletics leading 5-3.
Although he initially gave up a single to lead-off batter Anthony Rendon, he struck out Brian Goodwin before flyouts to right field and centre field from Albert Puljols and Jo Adell ended the game, giving Hendriks' his ninth save and boosting Oakland to a 19-8 record.
Earlier, a three-run first-inning allowed Oakland to gain control from the start, Marcus Semien hitting a ball over the fence before a Stephen Piscotty double scored two more.
Despite the Angels nailing back a run in the fifth, Oakland made nice work of the bottom half of that frame with two more, although those runs would be cancelled due to the Angels’ two at the top of the sixth.
The 31-year-old Hendriks had a day’s rest before collecting his second win of the season in a tight affair against the Angels.
A scoreless 10th inning paved the way for Oakland to claim a walk-off victory on Sunday, 23 August with Hendriks needing just 11 pitches to get the job done on the mound while stopping the runner on second from scoring.
Hendriks retired all three batters, making his way back from a 3-1 count to Jason Castro before he popped up and was caught in foul territory. Andrelton Simmons grounded and David Fletcher lined out straight to right field.
There was a runner on second in the bottom of the 10th and Matt Chapman's single advanced him to third before a Mark Canha sacrifice fly to centre field allowed the winning run to come home.
As a result of this win, Oakland became the first team in the American League to record 20 wins. This marked their fifth win in five extra-inning games this season. The A’s were victorious against the Angels even without a home run, snapping a 0-5 streak when homerless this season.
In another exciting element to Hendriks’ week, the right-hander secured his 10th save of the season against Texas on Wednesday, 26 August, a result that sees him atop the saves among the MLB.
The save came as a result of Oakland’s 3-1 win over the Rangers where Hendriks took 17 pitches and punched out two – Joey Gallo looking and Todd Frazier swinging – before forcing Nick Solak to ground out.
Texas got out to an early one-run lead due to an error as the third inning came to an end but Oakland was able to pick things up at the top of the sixth when Piscotty claimed an RBI single, Marcus Semien crossing home.
A wild pitch from Luis Garcia allowed Ramon Laureano to score and double the Athletics lead.
Piscotty was later involved in another A’s run, scoring at the top of the eighth after a bases-loaded hit by pitch on Robbie Grossman.
The save result takes Hendriks’ ERA to 1.10, allowing just two earned runs this season from 16.1 innings.
Oakland’s game against Texas on Friday, 28 August is postponed - to be made up on Sunday, 13 September - as the A’s look forward to staying in Texas but travel to Houston for a three-game series against the Astros from tomorrow. As the leaders in the American League West, Oakland rounds out the week in Seattle with a three-game series against the Mariners.
Follow Oakland’s season on the official MLB website here.
Although Victorian Lewis Thorpe was optioned to the Twins Alternate Training Site last week, his training continues as he looks for another shot on baseball's biggest stage. He remains on the Twins 40-man roster and could be available for a return to the Majors at some time this season.
Thorpe pitched in six games this season, even getting the start against Pittsburgh on Monday, 3 August.
Across his first two games against Chicago and Cleveland, Thorpe retained a 0.00 ERA from 4.2 innings, giving up just a few hits.
His game against the Pirates saw his ERA increase to 3.12, although he secured three strikeouts in a four-inning effort. Unfortunately, Thorpe's ERA grew to almost double on the back of a three-run outing that produced no outs.
Thorpe's ERA dipped in the following game on Wednesday, 12 August after two scoreless innings but he struggled through another rough outing one week later, striking out three with four runs allowed on six hits and three walks.
Overall, the left-hander has pitched 14.2 innings in six games with 20 hits, 10 runs and nine strikeouts with an ERA of 6.14.
The Twins won their series against Kansas City and took out the opening game against Cleveland but dropped the final two. Despite back-to-back losses the Twins are still paced first with a 20-12 record in the American League Central division.
Minnesota's game against Detroit was postponed until tomorrow with a double-header set for Friday and another two games across the weekend. The Twins start a three-game series with the White Sox on Monday before hosting the Tigers at home next Friday.
For up-to-date schedules, scores and live action from the Twins, visit the official MLB website here.
MLB ON KAYO
If you’re wondering where to watch MLB, Kayo has you covered with some of the biggest games streamed live each week. In addition to MLB Strikezone showings, the Australian sports streaming service has the following lineup for games this next week:
New to Kayo? Sign up for a free 14-day trial HERE.
Baseball Western Australia
Empire Ballpark, a Smoke-Free venue
Corner Nicholson and Wilfred Roads, Thornlie WA 6108
PO Box 1489, Canning Vale DC WA 6970
Phone: 1300 557 353