Oakland Athletics reliever Liam Hendriks delivers a pitch against the Boston Red Sox on April 30, 2019 at the Oakland Coliseum. (Chris Victorio / Special to S.F. Examiner)

Liam Hendriks named Reliever of the Month

Oakland Athletics righty Liam Hendriks has become indispensible since being recalled last September

Oakland Athletics pitcher Liam Hendriks has been named the American League Reliever of the Month, Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday morning.

The Australian right-hander took over the closer role just before Blake Treinen was placed on the injured list with a mild rotator cuff sprain on June 23. Since he took over, he’s saved three games in five appearances, allowed five hits and struck out 10 in 5 1/3 innings pitched.

Over the month of June, Hendriks went 1-0 with two saves, six holds, striking out 22 and walking just four in 15 innings of work over 14 appearances, while allowing just a single earned run for a 0.60 ERA. Only three of the 10 runners he inherited scored, and two of those came in his one blown save on June 12.

He became the second pitcher in franchise history to make at least 14 appearances with 22-plus strikeouts while sporting an ERA below 1.00 in a month, joining Diego Segui (August 1968).

Hendriks was sent down after an ineffective 13 games with the A’s to start the season, posting a 7.36 ERA and missing 46 games with a strained groin. When he returned from Triple-A in September, he became Oakland’s go-to opener and also a versatile late-inning arm. Over the final month, he allowed just eight hits and two earned runs in 13 innings of work, holding opposing batters to a .178 average.

This season, he’s 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings in 39 games, including two starts. He’s limited opponents to a .204 (33-for-162) batting average.

Over his last 26 appearances, he’s posted a 0.88 ERA (3 ER, 30 2/3 IP) with 40 strikeouts since April 30. Among American League relievers, he ranks second in ERA (1.01), tied for fourth in strikeouts (56) and fifth in innings pitched (44 2/3).

It is the first time an A’s reliever has been named American League reliever of the month since Blake Treinen earned the award in May and September of 2018.

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