Heaping praise for Hendrickson
The Orioles did all the little things right in Tuesday’s win and got two solid innings of middle relief from big lefty Mark Hendrickson. In the wake of injuries to reliever Koji Uehara and closer Alfredo Simon, manager Dave Trembley told Hendrickson -typically the team’s long man – that he will be now be used in the later innings as well.
“He came to [pitching coach Rick] Kranitz before the game today and said, ‘With [Simon] being out, does my role change?’ And we told him, ‘Yeah, you’ll probably be used later in the game.'” Trembley said. “And he said, ‘OK, I’m ready for it.’ He did a real nice job. The ball was down, he had good two-seam and he had good extension on his pitches.”
“That’s the best Hendrickson has pitched all year.”
The guy nicknamed Big Smooth by his teammates seemed to cruise through his two scoreless innings, throwing 21 pitches (14 for strikes) and allowing just one hit.
“I’m not going to lie. I loved the situation. I loved the opportunity to come in with the lead late in the game,” Hendrickson said. “I think I just tried to pitch accordingly.”
“If you look at the way I came in and the way Will [Ohman] came in, it seemed like we were just coming in being aggressive, trusting our stuff and accomplishing some zeroes after we had taken the lead. That’s important and that’s something we really haven’t done a good job of. I think tonight we excelled in pretty much every facet, which is nice to see.”
Given that Orioles bullpen now consists of Frank Mata, who is in the big leagues for the first time, and David Hernandez (who has never been a reliever) having a seasoned guy like Hendrickson is a big boost. I know in talking to Jason Berken earlier this season that Hendrickson has been extremely helpful in his successful transition to the ‘pen.
Hopefully, Hendrickson can continue to help the young guys and build on outings like Tuesday.