Sitting in front of the TV with thousands of other viewers on Saturday night, I watched lefty Josh Hader strike out the side in the ninth inning to preserve the Milwaukee Brewers' 4-2 victory over the the St. Louis Cardinals in Miller Park.
No big deal, right?
Well, Hader performed what is called an "immaculate inning." He threw a minimum nine pitches, all strikes.
Tyler O’Neill was the only Card to put any wood on the ball, fouling off Hader's first pitch. Then it was lights out. The next eight pitches were also strikes that no one could touch, including the last one at 98 mph. Hader's slowest pitch was his first (95 mph) that O'Neill fouled off. Hader's second pitch hit 96 mph, then six straight at 97 mph before the 98 mph heater that Yairo Ozuna flailed at out of the strike zone.
It simply doesn't, or can't, get any better than that.
Hader's heroics, thanks to an over-the-wall catch by centerfielder Lorenzo Cain to save a Brewers' victory in the opener on Thursday, are breath-taking.
For the record, Hader struck out seven of the nine batters he faced in three innings of relief work in the season-opening series. He threw only 30 pitches (all fastballs) and Cardinal batters swung 22 times, whiffing on 18 strikes. They made contact four times, putting only two in play.
The good news is Hader still hasn't shown his slider or the change-up he is working on.
While Major League Baseball continues searching for ways to speed up games, Hader is certainly doing his part.