The first two weeks of the 2020 MLB season are in the books, and so far it's been smooth sailing for our Aussie representatives. Every Friday we will take you around the grounds to check in on how the Aussies are doing on baseball’s biggest stage as they pursue their dreams.
This past week saw WA's Liam Hendriks record his fourth save and first win with the Oakland Athletics, while fellow Aussie Lewis Thorpe made his first start of 2020 for the Minnesota Twins.
West Australian Liam Hendriks recorded his second save of the MLB season to help Oakland snap a three-game losing streak on Sunday, 2 August. Hendriks recorded the final three outs as the A’s topped Seattle 3-2 in a game that went into 10 innings.
Tim Lopes attempt to bunt saw a pop-up to Hendriks and Dylan Moore flew out to shallow left field for the first two outs. Hendriks then punched out J.P. Crawford to finish off Seattle on 13 pitches.
The 31-year-old Hendriks kept Mariners automatic runner Shed Long Jr. stranded on second with the three outs as Robbie Grossman lifted the A’s to victory with the go-ahead RBI ground-rule double.
Hendriks then followed up his work the next day when he picked up his second save in as many days – and third for the season - by punching out three of four hitters in Oakland’s 3-2 win over Seattle on Monday, 3 August.
Hendriks struck out Evan White on four pitches to start the bottom of the ninth ahead of a Shed Long Jr. line drive to left field for a single. He recorded back-to-back strikeouts of Kyle Seager and Austin Nola to secure his third save of 2020, in his fourth appearance.
Hendriks made a fifth appearance on Wednesday, 5 August and collected the win in Oakland’s 5-1 victory against Texas, setting the stage for a walk-off grand slam from Stephen Piscotty.
Oakland entered the bottom of the ninth with scores tied after Hendriks tossed a scoreless top-half of the frame. The right-hander retired all three batters he faced after replacing Joakim Soria, using 10 pitches to do so.
Hendriks punched out Joey Gallo before getting Todd Frazier and Robinson Chirinos to fly out. It was Hendriks’ first win since July 14 last year against the Chicago White Sox.
Hendriks returned to the mound on Friday 7 August, at the top of the ninth and picked up his fourth save of the season as Oakland won 6-4, surviving a fightback from the Texas offense.
Replacing Yusmeiro Petit, Hendriks gave up a lead-off single to Shin-Soo Choo before striking out Elvis Andrus for the first out. A double-play effort from Marcus Semien on a line drive by Willie Calhoun ensured an Oakland win that improves their record to 9-4 in this 60-game MLB season.
The save result for Hendriks takes him to a tied second-place among MLB pitchers this season. His ERA has dropped to 1.42 following the 15-pitch save.
The A's have finished up their series with Texas, claiming a 3-0 series sweep to place first in the American League West conference with a 9-4 record. Oakland will stay at Oakland Colosseum to take on Houston over the weekend while at the back-end of next week, the team travels to Anaheim to battle with the Angels from Tuesday.
Follow Oakland’s season on the official MLB website here.
Homer Bailey was put on the Twins 10-day injured list with right bicep tendinitis, paving the way for Thorpe to enter the mix. He took a no-decision in his first start after Minnesota surged late to claim a walk-off win over Pittsburgh at Target Field on Tuesday (Australian time).
Thorpe lasted four innings on the mound, allowing three runs on six hits with three strikeouts before a deep single from Nelson Cruz gave the Twins a 5-4 walk-off win.
The left-hander Thorpe was on the back foot early as he gave up a lead-off homer to Pirate Cole Tucker on the first pitch of the game.
Thorpe was able to retire the next three batters on eight pitchers before Pittsburgh doubled their advantage an inning later with three straight singles after a Bryan Reynolds strikeout first-up. The third of those singles made it a 2-0 game.
The 24-year-old retired each of the three batters he faced in the third frame and escaped the fourth inning with minimal damage, despite issuing four walks and an Erik Gonzalez RBI-double adding to the deficit.
Jorge Alcala replaced Thorpe in the middle, giving up a fourth run in the fifth but the Twins pulled back to make it even after a four-run sixth before Cruz’s heroics.
The Twins carry their impressive 10-3 record – first in the American League Central conference – into this weekend's three-game series against Kansas City in a three-game series before travelling to Milwaukee for a three-game series against the Brewers from Tuesday.
Thorpe isn't the only Aussie on the Twins 40-man roster, with Queenslander Aaron Whitefield making his MLB debut last week.
For up-to-date schedules, scores and live action from Thorpe and his Twins teammates, 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:
Click HERE to check out Kayo and follow along with the MLB action live.
New to Kayo? Sign up for a free 14-day trial HERE.