Liam Hendriks joked about how the Chicago White Sox have mostly been winning since he returned last week from battling cancer.
The mood is more upbeat these days for the White Sox, who go for their season-high fifth straight victory Wednesday night against the host New York Yankees, who are now dealing with a second injured-list stint for Aaron Judge.
Hendriks closed out the series-opening 3-2 victory by getting three groundouts after allowing a homer to Josh Donaldson on his first pitch Tuesday. Hendriks got his first save since his return after Lucas Giolito pitched six hitless innings and Seby Zavala homered in consecutive at-bats.
"I think we're showing a little bit more grit," said Hendriks, who returned to action May 29. "I missed this so I've only seen us be good.
"I don't think there's any correlation, but we're starting to put together some really good at-bats. We're getting those big plays in the outfield, we're getting those big plays on the mound, and it's all starting to click -- and that should be a scary thing for the rest of the division."
Chicago has won a pair of one-run games during its winning streak and has allowed five runs total during the past four contests. The White Sox are 5-2 since Hendriks returned from stage 4 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and 20-14 dating back to April 30.
The Yankees had just three hits Tuesday. Isiah Kiner-Falefa ended Chicago's no-hit bid with an RBI double in the seventh before Donaldson hit his third homer since returning from a hamstring injury.
Those hits occurred before the Yankees announced they were placing Judge on the injured list with a bruise and a sprained ligament in his right toe. Judge was injured when he crashed into the right field wall and partially knocked the bullpen door open making a catch on J.D. Martinez in the eighth inning on Saturday.
The Yankees are 30-19 with Judge in the lineup and averaging five runs per game. New York is 6-7 without him and went 4-6 during his first IL stint with a strained right hip.
"You can't replace that guy," Donaldson said. "From a leadership standpoint, from a playing standpoint. We're just really going to have to come together as a team and grind out at-bats, play good defense, throw the ball well and hopefully keep winning ballgames until he's back."
Nestor Cortes was originally scheduled to start but is expected to join Judge on the injured list with a shoulder strain that the Yankees believe will keep him out at least 15 days. Right-hander Randy Vasquez (0-1, 3.86 ERA) is instead expected to start Wednesday. Vasquez allowed two runs on four hits in 4 2/3 innings in his major league debut May 26 against the San Diego Padres.
Vasquez is 1-6 with a 5.13 ERA in 10 starts for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre and has not pitched since his first outing with the Yankees.
Lance Lynn (4-6, 6.55) will start for the White Sox. He is 3-1 with a 4.70 ERA over his past four starts, though his three-game winning streak ended last Wednesday when he tied a season high by allowing eight runs with eight hits in four innings against the Los Angeles Angels.
Lynn is 2-2 with a 4.20 ERA in five career starts against the Yankees. He was 3-2 with a 4.14 ERA in 11 appearances (nine starts) with New York over the final two months of the season in 2018.
--Field Level Media