Liam Hendriks’ Shift in Energy Big Factor in Surging Success With A’s

1483719053-citymanager_2.jpg?crop=faces,top&fit=crop&q=35&auto=enhance&w=300&h=300&fm=jpg
Ben Ross

You feel it.

Whether you're witnessing it in person or watching it on a screen, the energy a pitcher exudes once he sends the batter to the dugout with no apologies, no reparation. It's magnetic.

You feel it.

A's Australian-born pitcher Liam Hendriks isn't an exception to the rule, as a matter of fact, he's the lesson. 

Call it confidence, call it arrogance -- whatever your term is, it's survival of the fittest on the diamond. 

Hendriks detailed some of this mentality in the latest Momentum documentary: "Resiliency: The Road to Becoming an All-Star." But I wanted to know more.

When you approach Hendriks in his workout shorts. His curly hair is a bit disorderly, he's calm and approachable. But that's not who he is when he's on the bump. He's on one side of the battle of the egos -- and he's going to win.

"For me, it's just convincing myself that no matter what, I'm better than you," Hendriks told NBC Sports California. "So it's not necessarily arrogance, it's just extreme confidence. But for me, if I have to think ‘Oh I can't throw it here, because that's where they're good,' that's where I get in trouble. So for me, it's just convincing myself that I'm better than whoever is at the plate."

The hitter has the same mentality which turns into the ultimate matchup. The loser oftentimes is he or she who doubts themselves.

"You need to have that confidence and arrogance going out there to be like 'It doesn't matter, I'm gonna win this battle no matter what,'" Hendriks said.

"No matter what I throw, if I'm convicted and I believe that I'm better than them I'm gonna get it done."

Twelve-year pitching veteran Peter Moylan has been enjoying watching Hendriks taking care of batters and the journey he took to get to his All-Star season.

"I think what we do have in common is absolutely f-----g loving to prove people wrong," Moylan said. "I was told I was done so many times in my career and I'm sure he has heard it too."

But Moylan's approach on the rubber is a bit different from Hendriks' animalistic attitude, and he compared the closer's mindset to that of another Aussie, Grant Balfour. Moylan had to find a sense of stillness.

"It's what works for them," Moylan added. "I needed to stay under control and calm when I pitched."

Hendriks agreed that there are times he needs to remain calm as well.

But there's always time for this ... 

"I love watching Liam blow a stack after the third out," Moylan added. 

That intensity makes a difference.

"When you go out on the mound, there's a certain level of -- kind of raising testosterone that you kind of have to have to go out there and repeat against other guys that are doing the same thing," Chicago White Sox reliever Evan Marshall said.

"You have the mentality of going out there for your family, you just have to find little motivations that can drive you to push harder."

He also said slamming a couple of RedBulls helps.

"Caffeine's big in the bullpen, all bullpens sponsored by RedBull ... and Excedrin," he laughed.

He echoed Hendriks' sentiment.

"They can't beat me," Marshall explained. "My stuff is better than them."

And if it's bad out on the field, the bullpen feeds off of it.

"Like yesterday, we had a bullpen day, and we only gave up one run to the Twins who set the home run record this year, so one after another we were just kind of running out there like 'It's my turn to do my job and set it up for the next guy.'"

Then, Marshall made it rather simple.

"But while you're out there it's time to, I dunno, rage."

[RELATED: A's playoff chances with nine games remaining]

You can rage, sure. But where's the line between cocky and confident?

Dallas Braden notices the difference.

"You're confident as you move through the world," he said. "Confident as you move through the clubhouse. You're cocky as soon as you take the mound because -- how can you not be? If you're Liam Hendriks toting around 100 miles per hour how can you not be?"

Copyright C
Contact Us