Like fire and ice, a pitcher’s performance and their team’s offense go hand-in-hand. It’s the offense’s job to produce run support for the pitcher, and it’s the pitcher’s job to limit the amount of runs given up. Without a doubt, the Milwaukee Brewers aren’t best known for their pitching, but for farmhand talent and creative moves from the front office. From a no-hitter in 1987, to pitching gems on holidays, to clutch moments from the batter’s box, Milwaukee Brewers pitchers give fans moments they will never forget.
No-hitter in 1987
Surely, we all know what happens here. Brewers broadcaster, Bill Schroeder, talks about this moment during every un-eventful game. It was the first and only no-hitter in Brewers history. Undoubtedly, many fans will plead the case for CC Sabathia, but that story is for another time.
It was the start of the season in 1987, and the Brewers were still looking for their first loss. To this day, it is one of the most memorable moments in Brewers’ history. Pitcher Juan Nieves and battery partner Bill Schroeder were on the same wavelength as Nieves tossed a no-hitter. Robin Yount saved the no-hitter with an incredible diving catch in the outfield. Despite almost breaking up the no-hitter, Cal Ripken Jr. and the Baltimore Orioles lost that day 7-0.
First career hit
In baseball, there are switch-hitters and ambidextrous pitchers, but how about a pitcher with one hand? For instance, Jim Abbott was born without his right hand. He spent the final season of his remarkable career as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers. He had already pitched a no-hitter for the New York Yankees in 1993, Abbott was missing just one thing: his first career hit. In true Brewers fashion, his two career hits were against the Chicago Cubs. On June 30, 1999, Abbott connected for an RBI single and pitched in his last Major League game a month later.
Moose Haas held the franchise record for strikeouts at 14, until May 16, 2004 when Ben Sheets took the mound. Sheets struck out 18 of the 31 Atlanta Braves he faced in a complete game gem. When Ben Sheets was on, oh man, watch out. His curveball was a masterpiece and had batters buckling at the knees. However, his career was derailed by injuries. There are many what-ifs lingering regarding if he had stayed healthy throughout his career.
Road to the Playoffs
It’s difficult to choose one CC Sabathia moment to highlight because all of them are so memorable. Undoubtedly, trading for him was the best move in the Doug Melvin era, and CC Sabathia’s biggest asset off the field was his determination. Sabathia turned down an extension from the Cleveland Indians, which must have boosted Melvin’s confidence to make the trade.
The lineup was stacked with Prince Fielder, young Ryan Braun, and Corey Hart, so the missing piece to push the Brewers over the edge was a front-line starter. Sabathia brought it all to the table. Along with hitting home runs, he almost threw a no-hitter in route to leading the Crew to the postseason for the first time since 1982. During his three month tenure as a Brewer, Sabathia left a lasting legacy in Milwaukee.
Savin’ a career defining moment for the Brewers
Trevor Hoffman notches 600th save
Picture this: the year was 2010 and the banner in left-center field read 599 saves. Hells Bells was playing on the sound system. The crowd was going wild as they anticipated witnessing history. Miller Park was buzzing with excitement as the future Hall of Famer, Trevor Hoffman, took the mound. Although the tying run got on base, it was an easy inning. After that, the whole team rushed to the mound in celebration and the Hoffman family came to embrace the moment. The banner now read 600 saves.
2017 Father’s Day Complete Game
Father’s Day, statistically, hasn’t been a Brewers’ winning holiday. Before Jimmy Nelson took the mound in 2017, the Brewers had only won 18 games on Father’s Day out of 51. However, in the best start of his career, Nelson pitched a complete game allowing just one earned run and six hits while striking out ten. The 118 pitch outing was the 19th time the Brewers won on Father’s Day. That was the first complete game by a Brewer at Miller Park since Kyle Lohse blanked the Cubs in 2014.
2018 Mother’s Day debut
Mother’s Day in 2018 was supposed to coincide with Chase Anderson day. Unfortunately, Anderson missed the start with an illness which caused the call-up of 21-year-old Freddy Peralta. He got the best call of his life, and Peralta made the short trip from Colorado Springs to Denver. However, his family had never seen him pitch professionally so they made the trip from the Dominican Republic.
What a historic debut it was. ‘Fastball Freddy’ was born. Along with Peralta striking out 13, he allowed one hit in 5.2 innings of work. Peralta was the only starting pitcher since 1908 to allow one or fewer hits while striking out 13 batters or more. During his outing, the 21-year old hurler combined to strikeout Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon and D.J. LeMahieu seven times. As a result of the stellar outing, Peralta broke the Brewers’ record for strikeouts by a rookie pitcher.
Game One NLCS
Brandon Woodruff takes Clayton Kershaw deep
This game was Gio Gonzalez’ to start, but Brandon Woodruff really got it going. The curveball master, Clayton Kershaw, underestimated the hitting ability of Woodruff. In 2018, the on base slugging percentage (OPS) of Woodruff was .958. All the baseball buffs know that’s incredible for a pitcher.
Arguably one of the best pitchers in recent history, Kershaw still happens to struggle mightily in the playoffs. He continued that trend when he tossed a 92 mph fastball down the heart of home plate that Woodruff connected with. It was no cheap shot either as the center fielder had no chance to catch it.
Woodruff’s trot around the bases fed the electricity in Miller Park. Riding on adrenaline, Woodruff had to pump the brakes as he pitched the next inning. Veteran player, Curtis Granderson, congratulated Woodruff and told him to go cool off in the clubhouse and get back into the pitching mindset. The universal designated hitter (DH) will be implemented this season. Woodruff’s home run will stand as one of the last home runs hit by a Brewers pitcher, along with Jhoulys Chacin and Aaron Wilkerson homers in 2019.
April 29, 2009: Yovani Gallardo goes eight innings while striking out 11. Gallardo helped his own cause by hitting a homerun for the only run of the game.
June 22, 2013: Francisco Rodriguez “K-Rod” notches his 300th save.
May 27, 2014: None other than Yovani Gallardo sent the Brewers fans home happy this night. Pinch-hitter Gallardo ripped a double to secure the walk-off win against the Baltimore Orioles.
July 11, 2015: Taylor Jungmann went the distance against the Dodgers. He gave up three hits and allowed one earned run. This was his first Major League complete game.
May 8, 2018: The most efficient reliever took that efficiency to the plate. Brent Suter took Corey Kluber deep. Not just deep, but DEEP: 433-feet to be exact.