The Milwaukee Brewers shut out the Chicago Cubs 1-0 on Wednesday, taking two of three games from their division rivals. Among the stellar pitching Milwaukee received in its second straight shutout was pitcher Josh Hader pitching a scoreless eighth inning.
The reliever lowered his ERA to a minuscule 1.18 on the season, which ranks fifth among major league pitchers with at least 30 innings pitched in 2018. But what was notable about Hader’s game on Wednesday was what is usually notable about a Hader appearance. He struck out three batters in his scoreless inning.
It was the 13th different inning this season that Hader was struck out three batters.
Hader has faced 138 batters this saason and struck out 75 of them. If that absurd 54.3% strikeout rate looks gaudy, it’s because it is. The highest strikeout rate ever, among pitchers with at least 30 innings, is 52.5% by Aroldis Chapman in 2014. The only other pitcher to reach even 50% was Craig Kimbrel in 2012.
Hader’s 75 strikeouts are 29% more than the next-best reliever in this regard, Seattle Mariners closer Edwin Diaz.
The only time a pitcher struck out at least 150 batters in relief in the last 30 years was when Brad Lidge whiffed 157 in 2004. Hader is on pace for a whopping 179 strikeouts this season. The only time that number has ever been reached by a reliever was in 1964, when Dick Radatz struck out 181 for the Red Sox.
But even that isn’t necessarily what’s noteworthy about Josh Hader in 2018.
Hader currently leads the Brewers in total strikeouts. Keep in mind that Hader is a relief pitcher, who has pitched 38 total innings in 2018.
But that’s not all. Hader would lead 10 MLB teams in strikeouts, including every team in the NL Central:
- Reds (Luis Castillo leads with 74 strikeouts)
- Dodgers (Ross Stripling, 72)
- Pirates (Jameson Taillon, 71)
- Cubs (Jose Quintana, 70)
- Cardinals (Michael Wacha, 67)
- Athletics (Sean Manaea, 64)
- Brewers (Jhoulys Chacin, second to Hader with 64)
- Tigers (Michael Fulmer, 62)
- Giants (Chris Stratton, 61)
- White Sox (James Shields, 59)
That is your Josh Hader fun fact for today.