Pitching, Hader get Brewers off to great start in April
If you spent any time watching or listening to the Brewers in April, you know that pitching was at the forefront of the team’s first month success. The team compiled a 15-7 record (.682 winning percentage) in April and lead the National League Central by a couple of games over the Cardinals.
The .682 winning percentage in April was the fifth best in team history behind 1987 (18-3 .857), 1995 (4-1 .800), 1976 (9-3 .750) and 2014 (20-8 .714). The 15 wins is tied for eighth in club history; the 2014 squad’s 20 wins tops the list. It’s interesting to note that of the previous eight Brewers teams that won 15 or more games in April, four went on to make the playoffs that year: 2008, 2018, 201 and 2021.
The 15-7 record in April, however, did not come with any eye-opening hitting stats. In fact, save for a pair of blowout wins over the Cubs on the last two days in April (11-1 and 9-1), the Brew Crew’s offense was almost non-existent. They finished the month with a .223 team batting average, tied for the fifth lowest in team history in April.
That brings us back to the pitching staff. An outstanding April by the hurlers are what led the team. Consider this:
The 3.06 team ERA was the tenth best in team history…
The 11 saves in the month were tied for second most in team history…
The pitching staff averaged 10.3 strikeouts in April, second only to last year’s staff that averaged 10.35 in the first month…
The opponents’ combined batting average in April was .206, the second lowest in team history behind last year’s .204.
Don’t be a hater; be a Hader. Josh Hader was near perfect in April (he was recently honored as the top reliever in the N.L. for April). He had 10 saves in 10 opportunities, a 0.00 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 9.1 innings.
On April 17 in a win over the Cardinals, Hader notched his 100th career save with the Brewers, becoming the third Brewers reliever to reach the 100-career save mark (he joined Dan Plesac-133 and John Axford-106). Through games of May 2, Hader has tied Axford with 106 saves.
Hader became the 160th relief pitcher in MLB history to have 100 career saves. Of these 160 relievers with 100 or more career saves, Hader ranks first with 15.3 strikeouts per nine innings (Alroldis Chapman ranks second with 14.9); he ranks fourth in strikeout/walk ratio at 4.52 (behind Robert Osuna-6.33, Sean Doolittle-5.07 and Kenley Jansen-5.01); and Hader ranks first in WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) at 0.852.
Only time will tell if Hader remains a Milwaukee Brewer for his entire career, but of the 160 members of the 100 career save club, Hader is one of only six pitchers on the list who have collected all of their career saves with one club. The other members: Mariano Rivera, 652 with the N.Y. Yankees… Bob Stanley, 132 with Boston… Kazuhiro Sasaki, 129 with Seattle… John Hiller, 125 with Detroit… and Glen Perkins, 120 with Minnesota.
As mentioned above, Hader became the third Brewers relief pitcher to reach 100 saves with the team. Six MLB franchises top the list with six different pitchers with 100 or more career saves with the team: Cincinnati, L.A. Dodgers, Minnesota, N.Y. Yankees, San Francisco, Washington.