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AUS x MLB: 31 July Update

Baseball Victoria
31 July 2020

Now that the 2020 MLB season is officially underway, every Friday we will take you around the grounds to check in on how our Aussie representatives are doing on baseball’s biggest stage as they chase their dreams and make their country proud.  

LEWIS THORPE 

Victorian Lewis Thorpe made his MLB season debut for the Minnesota Twins on Sunday 26 July against the Chicago White Sox, entering at the top of the sixth in relief of Kenta Maeda. 

Thorpe issued a walk to start the seventh but was able to get Danny Mendrick to ground into a double play.

In 2.2 innings pitched, Thorpe gave up one hit and two walks before exiting the mound, after a Jose Abreu ball back up the middle hit his left leg and left him limping.

Thorpe recovered and entered Thursday’s game against Cleveland, pitching two scoreless innings in his second outing of the season as the Twins fell to the Indians, 2-0.  

Thorpe gave up two hits – one in the eighth and one in the ninth - to retain an ERA of 0.00 and record his first strikeout of the season. His six outs across the final two innings came on 20 pitches, 14 of them strikes. 

Across the weekend, Minnesota continue their series against Cleveland and from Monday 3 August, will be staying at Target Field for a home series vs. Pittsburgh. 

For up-to-date schedules, scores and live action from Thorpe and his Twins teammates, visit the official MLB website here.

AARON WHITEFIELD 

Aaron Whitefield, also with the Minnesota Twins, became the 35th Australian to play MLB, making his debut at the same ballpark where teammate Thorpe made his first appearance last June. Whitefield entered the game as a pinch runner on Saturday 25 July in a 10-3 loss to Chicago. 

The Queenslander replaced left fielder Eddie Rosario who singled at the top of the ninth, but Whitefield wasn’t unable to advance as the final two Twins outs were made in quick succession. 

On Sunday 26 July, Whitefield was again asked to pinch run – this time in the eighth inning - replacing Jorge Polanco on first base.  

Whitefield scored his first big league run in the 14-2 win, advancing on Nelson Cruz’s second home run of the game. 

Whitefield stayed in the game through the bottom of the eighth in centre field and made a play to retire Chicago’s Tim Anderson while Thorpe was pitching.

The current Adelaide Giants player took his first at-bat of his Major League career - in his third big league game - on Wednesday 29 July in a 3-0 Twins win against St Louis.  

Whitefield entered as a defensive replacement in centre field to start the seventh inning and made two back-to-back plays in for the final two outs of the seventh. 

Whitefield stepped up to the plate with two out in the bottom of the eighth and swung at the first pitch he saw from Cardinals pitcher Ryan Helsey, chopping the ball to the righthand side and nearly beat out the throw to first.  

Minnesota’s four-game series against Cleveland continues through Sunday, before Thorpe and Whitefield turn their attention to hosting Pittsburgh from Monday. 

View the official MLB website here.

LIAM HENDRIKS 

Liam Hendriks made his MLB season debut on Opening Day, Friday 24 July and despite blowing a save opportunity at the top of the ninth, Oakland prevailed as eventual 7-3 winners in extra innings thanks to a grand slam from first baseman Matt Olson.

Hendriks allowed two hits, one earned run and two strikeouts in one inning in the A’s first game of the season. 

Returning to the mound at Oakland Colosseum in relief on Sunday 26 July, Hendriks picked up a four-out save with one strikeout as he preserved a two-run Athletics lead. 

With his first save out of the way, the 2019 MLB All-Star will support Oakland in a series against Seattle starting on Friday before playing host to Texas from Tuesday. 

Follow Oakland’s season on the official MLB website here.

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