Aussie’s nightmare on ground-breaking night
AUSTRALIA'S Liam Hendriks is THE most unlikely starter in the MLB playoffs - and he's broken new ground on two fronts as a result.
But it didn't entirely go to plan.
The right-handed pitcher started for the Oakland A's in their wild card showdown loss to baseball powerhouse the New York Yankees.
In doing so he became the first Australian in history to start a playoff game - and also the first pitcher in history to start a playoff without chalking up a regular season win.
Hendriks was injected into the top of the A's pitching rotation in the non-traditional role of an 'opener' - essentially a pitcher who will come out and pitch the opening innings or two.
But it continued a remarkable tale for the eight-year MLB veteran, who in June was 'designated for assignment' - he was cut - and then cleared waivers, because no other team in the league wanted him.
Hendriks continued to fight and scrap in the minor leagues before landing back on the A's as a relief pitcher, leading to Thursday's historic day.
Hendriks arrived at Yankee Stadium - after seeing the sights of New York, including the MET the day before - and opened the game.
He pitched just one innings, giving up an early walk to Andrew McCutchen and then a monster two-run home run to Yankees star Aaron Judge.
It was the hardest hit post-season home run since the statistic began being recorded three years ago.
It was the started of a heavy defeat for the A's, who ended their season with a 7-2 loss as the Yankees progressed to a division series showdown with fierce rivals the Boston Red Sox.
But Hendriks found some support on social media despite the horror-show start to the game and the unconventional 'opener' tactic seemingly backfiring.
Others, however, were less kind.
US baseball journalist Chris Shearn labelled the move to call Hendriks a starter was an 'insult' to the many greats who have gone before him.