On August 1, the San Diego Padres acquired left-handed closer, Josh Hader. At the time, Hader was regarded as one of the best closers in baseball, arguably the best. The Milwaukee Brewers noticed a mechanical issue with Hader, so they dealt him to the Padres.
Hader’s time with the Padres got off to a horrible start, leading to Padres manager Bob Melvin removing him from the closer role. Ruben Niebla, Padres pitching coach, worked with Hader through his mechanics, and now Hader is back in the closer role and thriving.
Make that nine straight outings without an earned run for Josh Hader!
The Padres can clinch a postseason spot tomorrow with a win or a Brewers loss pic.twitter.com/aXMbeSsc3s
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) October 2, 2022
In his last ten outings, Hader allowed zero runs and struck out 13 batters in 9 ⅓ innings while recording six saves. However, the Padres got Hader for October and the postseason, something Hader is not new to.
Milwaukee made the postseason four straight times from 2018 to 2021. During those postseasons, Brewers manager Craig Counsell leaned on his dominant closer, and Hader dominated on baseball’s biggest stage.
During the Brewers’ 2018 postseason run to the NLCS, Hader allowed zero runs in 10 innings while striking out 16. Hader also got used in various roles, not just as the closer in the ninth inning.
Hader did cost the Brewers in the 2019 wild card game after some bad breaks and heroics from now-teammate Juan Soto. He also allowed a game-winning home run to Freddie Freeman last postseason, but those are the only runs allowed in 11 postseason appearances.
Hader, Grisham and Soto are now all on the same team 😬 pic.twitter.com/hS7DWTvsMQ
— B/R Walk-Off (@BRWalkoff) August 2, 2022
As good as Hader has been in the playoffs, he has only toed the rubber for the ninth twice, recording saves both times.
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Through just two games, Hader is yet to make a playoff appearance for the Padres. He is well rested, last pitching on October 3. A fresh Hader could be asked for more than three outs in Sunday’s elimination game, something he hasn’t done since 2019.
Hader will absolutely make his way into the game against the New York Mets Sunday. The big question is how early does Melvin get him the ball, and how many outs will he ask out of him?
Dominic is currently a Senior at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, studying Sports Journalism. He also hosts the “Devils Talking Padres” podcast and is the producer and co-host of the “Padres EVT Podcast.