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Brewers' Josh Hader named MLB reliever of month

Lefty struck out 39 batters in 18 innings.
Brewers' Josh Hader named MLB reliever of month
Posted at 10:28 AM, May 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-03 11:28:51-04

Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Josh Hader was named Major League Baseball's Reliever of the Month for April.

The 6-foot-3 lanky lefty threw 18 innings and allowed only two earned runs in 11 April appearances. He struck out 39 batters, walked 5 and earned four saves.

He ranks first among MLB relieversin total WAR, strikeouts, strike percentage and strikeouts per nine innings (among relievers with at least 10 innings pitched).

"I've just got to keep it rolling," Hader told Todd Rosiak after the announcement. "Keep helping the team any way I can and keep winning games. Anytime you can have records and stuff like that, it's pretty sweet. But the mind set still stays the same."

He also produced one of the most historically dominant relief appearances in MLB history.

In his last appearance against the Cincinnati Reds on April 30, Hader struck out 8 batters in 2.2 innings. Seven of those strikeouts were swings and misses.

He was the first pitcher since saves became official in 1969 to strike out 8 or more batters in less than three innings of work.

After that performance, Brewer's manager Craig Counsell told ESPN that Hader is unbelievable to watch.

"I don't know what to say about Josh," he said. "Literally, your mouth is kind of wide-open watching it. It was absolutely incredible."

With Brewers closer Corey Knebel on the shelf with a hamstring injury--though he is expected to return soon-- the 24-year-old Hader has emerged as a significant piece in a bullpen that is tied for the MLB lead in WAR.

In 115 innings this season, the Brewers pen has a K/9 rate of 10.80, the second highest in MLB, and Hader has accounted for 28 percent of those strikeouts.