2020 Liam Hendriks
2020 was quite an unusual season for the Chicago White Sox. The shortened season led to an expanded playoffs which, in turn, allowed the White Sox to reach the playoffs for the first time in 12 years. In their first round matchup, they faced the Oakland Athletics. Anchored by a strong lineup and scary bullpen headed by Liam Hendriks, the A’s were favorites headed into the series.
The two clubs split the first two games, which led to a win-or-go-home third game. Both teams’ starting pitchers didn’t make it out of the second inning in a game that lasted 4 hours 9 minutes. The A’s ended up taking the game and the series after a thrilling game. In the ninth inning, Liam Hendriks came in and sealed the deal for the A’s, striking out 3 in a dominant performance.
Liam Hendriks with the White Sox
Before 2021, the White Sox inked Liam Hendriks to a four year deal. Hendriks embarrassed hitters in 2021 en route to an all-star appearance. He finished the year with a 2.54 ERA and an AL best 38 saves in 71 innings. However, so far in 2022, Liam Hendriks has allowed a run in every appearance he’s made.
I had the privilege of going to the White Sox’s home opener on Tuesday. It was a great game, and it of course ended in a White Sox win. However, Liam Hendriks came into the game in the Top of the 9th attempting to protect a two run lead. He nearly blew it as he let the Mariners back into the game, but he eventually got the save.
The first thing I noticed about Liam Hendriks was how electric he was. When he came in, the stadium lights dimmed and he did a fist pump as he leapt into the air as if he had just chugged 5 Red Bulls. That is electric. He was throwing really hard, hitting 99 MPH on occasion. Another thing I noticed was how overmatched the Mariners hitters looked. I know they scored a run off of him and almost tied the game, but Liam Hendriks still looked a lot better than them.
Should We Be Worried About Liam Hendriks?
To answer the original question, no, I do not think that we should be worried. He is fine. A shortened spring training likely led to some early season struggles, of which we should not be concerned. He will be just fine.
Image Credit: @WhiteSox Twitter