The St. Louis Cardinals lost the opening game of an important series against the Milwaukee Brewers. In that game, they accomplished what a lot of teams have not been able to, they got to Josh Hader.
Josh Hader is one of the best young relievers in the game, and the St. Louis Cardinals tagged him for three runs on the strength of two homeruns. Now, they did not win the game, which is not good. But the offensive explosion against the Brewers southpaw deserves a second look.
In the sixth inning, Jose Martinez sent one over the fence. That was followed up by a walk from Paul DeJong and another homer from Marcell Ozuna. In the span of three batters, the Cardinals seemed to solve an impressive arm.
There are a lot of reasons that the Brewers, and even myself, love Hader. He is simply dominant. Striking out a hair under 16 batters per nine with an xFIP under two is not easy. Though at times Hader makes it look that way.
The St. Louis Cardinals performance is very noteworthy. Before the game, Hader’s last homer was on September 3. Between the surrendered homers, he struck out 80 percent of the batters he faced.
In the first half of the year, Hader gave up just eight earned runs and four long balls. Take away last night’s game, those same numbers for the second half were nine earned runs and two homers. He just dominates the opposition, usually.
This is something the St. Louis Cardinals have done for most of the year. In 7.1 innings of work against the Redbirds, Hader has given up three of his eight homeruns. The most of any team. His 4.91 ERA against the team is the highest of any team he’s thrown more than two innings against. That being said, he also has 18 strikeouts.
This is one small piece of the loss. Obviously, a win would be better than this. However, if the offense can solve a guy that not many other teams can, it almost instills hope for the postseason. There is a lot of work left to do to secure a spot in the playoffs, but being able to hit good pitching is key. The Brewers bullpen is filled with good pitching.
With Hader on the mound, strikeouts are inevitable, he is extremely dominant. What a team does between those strikeouts is the measure of that offense. Against this particular arm, they are a decent hitting team.
So, yes the loss happened. But the St. Louis Cardinals looked competent against one of the most dominant arms in the game, and that itself says a lot about this team. This team is going to fight to keep playing.