This morning, Major League Baseball announced the league-wide Team of the Month for May. The Chicago White Sox have one representative — closer Liam Hendriks.
Hendriks recorded a spotless ERA, 19 strikeouts, and eight saves in 11.2 innings over 13 appearances during May. The fiery Australian also limited opponents to a slash line of .182/.217/.227.
After a bit of a shaky start to the season, Hendriks has regained his form and fulfilled his billing as a lockdown closer. A big reason for the turnaround? Hendriks has been able to limit the long ball. He allowed four home runs over ten appearances in April but did not surrender one throughout his award-winning May.
Having Hendriks looming in the bullpen to lock down games has been a key component of the White Sox success so far in 2021. His value most recently shined through over the weekend when he notched three saves in a two-day span against the Baltimore Orioles. The White Sox have relied on manufacturing runs more than the long ball this season, typically leading to closer scores and more save opportunities. It's safe to say the $54-million man answered the bell resoundingly over the past month.
MLB includes just one relief pitcher among Team of the Month awards, and Liam Hendriks earned his rightful place with a dominant stretch throughout the month of May.