Reds vs Brewers: Preview, pitching matchups and prediction

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 09: Tucker Barnhart #16 of the Cincinnati Reds forces out Keston Hiura. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 09: Tucker Barnhart #16 of the Cincinnati Reds forces out Keston Hiura. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Reds
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – AUGUST 14: Josh Hader #71 of the Milwaukee Brewers throws a pitch during the game against the Chicago Cubs (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

Milwaukee closer shows no signs of slowing down

Just imagine for a minute Reds Country, as a team enters the ninth inning with a one-run lead and you can watch the remaining three outs without white-knuckling the arm of your recliner. That’s the luxury Brewers fans experience when closer Josh Hader enters the game. There’s plenty of reasons for Reds fans to be envious.

Since the start of the 2018 season, Hader leads all relievers with a 16.05 K/9 rate and 5.3 fWAR. But wait, there’s more. He also tops the rankings with an 87% LOB rate, BABIP with .216 average and XFIP with a 2.25.  In other words, he’s as dominant a closer as there is in the game.

This season has been no different for the two time All-Star. In seven appearances, Hader’s fanned 12 in 7.1 innings while collecting five saves without allowing a run. That’s getting it done. How has he faired against our beloved Redlegs over his career? About what you would expect.

Appearing in 20 games versus the Reds, Josh Hader has compiled nine saves while striking out an incredible 51 hitters in just 30.2 innings. Unfortunately, the night of April 30, 2018, will always remain a harrowing reminder of Hader’s brilliance for Reds Country.

That evening in Cincinnati, Hader closed out a 6-5 Brewers victory by tossing the final 2.2 innings to persevere the win. And just how did Hader record those final eight outs? By strikeout. Each and every one of them. Of the nine batters he faced, only Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart reached base via a base on balls. It was as dominant a pitching performance as you’ll ever see.

As mentioned earlier, the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen is getting quality outings from Freddy Peralta and Dustin Williams as well. If the Brewers can construct a reliable bridge to Josh Hader, they have the potential of being the best bullpen not only in the NL Central but in the entire league.