Liam Hendrix dug into his Australian rules football glossary to describe where the Chicago White Sox stood in early August.
“The third quarter is the championship quarter,” the All-Star said on Sunday. “So I think August is the third quarter of the season. And that’s something that can make or break a championship run.”
The Sox were two games behind the Minnesota Twins in first place in the American League Central as they began a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals on Monday night at Guaranteed Rate Field. They are in contention despite being just one game over .500.
“Around .500, we need to break that curse,” Hendrix said. “And as we do that, I think it’s one of those things that you roll. It’s like a guy running around that .200 average. Once he’s at .205 suddenly it’s hitting .260 at the end of the year.
“Five hundred is like a Mendoza line for us this year. But we’re getting into this section of the Games – I think I’ve said it enough times – it’s a significant stretch. At some point we need to define and influence our weather. ,
The trade deadline ended Tuesday at 5 p.m., and the Sox made a move Monday, receiving reliever Jake Dieckman from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for reserve catcher Reese McGuire and a player’s name or cash consideration.
Diekman, 35, is 5-1 with an ERA of 4.23, 51 strikeouts and 12 holds in 44 appearances this season, his first with the Red Sox. He will join Tanner Banks as a left winger in the White Sox bullpen.
He is signed with a club option for 2024 through the next season.
Diekman has 3.77 ERA, 632 strikeouts, 15 saves and 167 holds in 573 career games during 11 major league seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies (2012–15), Texas Rangers (2015–18), Arizona Diamondbacks (2018), Royals . 2019), Oakland Athletics (2019-21) and Red Sox (2022).
He has made 13 postseason appearances with Rangers (2015-16) and A (2019-20), posting 4.50 ERAs and 11 strikeouts in 12 innings.
McGuire joined the White Sox in Spring Training in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays and reduced .225/.261/.285 with nine doubles, 10 RBIs and 12 runs in 53 games.
Hendrix said the front office has reached out to players on Sunday for input on possible additions.
“That’s what I love about the front office here,” Hendrix said. “They ask people: ‘How’s this guy in the clubhouse? How’s this guy as a person? This guy’s on the field?’ It could be a perfect fit but boy could it (jerk) and change the morale of this clubhouse.
“You never want to get those guys into trouble… especially when we have a tight unit here. We want to make sure whoever comes in fits that mold and gets along with everyone.”
Hendrix recalled how the trades provided a lift when he was on the 2015 Toronto Blue Jays.
“A .500 team at the deadline and we went out and there’s (Troy) Tulowitzki, Latroy Hawkins, Cliff Pennington, David Price, among others, that completely changed the trajectory of the season, and it’s something that The front office does a lot,” Hendrix said. “It’s a morale booster that you can get here that can totally swing the pace of things.”
The Sox remain a confident group, Hendrix said, “because you see what kind of talent level this clubhouse has.”
“It’s not like we’re playing on our skis,” he said. “We have done poorly as a unit and that is understood by everyone in this clubhouse. This gives us no leeway in the fact that we still need to do what we can.
“We understand that we haven’t lived up to our potential, but we need to find that potential. If we do, we can win the division … especially with the schedule ahead of us.”
Sox manager Tony La Russa said center fielder Luis Robert was “feeling better” than on Sunday, but cold symptoms persist.
“Be careful with him,” La Russa said of the team’s approach. “He’s getting better, so our fingers are crossed.”
Robert has been on the injured list with blurred vision since July 19.
He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte on Thursday, but was dropped from the lineup on Friday with symptoms of a cold. He returned to Chicago during the weekend and played catch with training staff in the outfield before Monday’s game.
La Russa said it was “unlikely” Robert would be willing to play in the series against the Royals.
As for joining Charlotte to continue in rehab, La Russa said, “it’s something we’ve talked about,” but no decision has been made.
“The first thing is to get him ready for the game, one thing at a time,” La Russa said.
Pitcher Vince Velasquez is joining Charlotte on a rehab assignment. He went to IL on July 6 with a blister on his right index finger.