Saturday night’s match between the Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals turned out to be a banner day for two particular Milwaukee stars with Christian Yelich homering in his third consecutive game to start the season and Josh Hader putting the nail in the coffin by pitching an immaculate inning in the ninth to close out a 4-2 Brewers victory.
Thanks in large part to Yelich and Hader, the Brewers now improve to 2-1 on the season while the Cardinals record falls to 1-2. The Brewers won Opening Day thanks to a dramatic robbery of a would-be game-tying home run by Lorenzo Cain and lost in game two after Paul Goldschmidt took Milwaukee pitchers deep three times en route to a 9-5 win.
Yelich became the first MVP to open the following season with three home runs in a row and is the first player to accomplish the rare feat since Trevor Story did so in 2016 by opening the season with four dingers. Yelich is the first Brewer to ever do this and if he hits a home run in his next two games, he will become the first player in Major League history to open a season with five home runs in as many games. While it is a tall order, who better than the reigning National League Most Valuable Player to accomplish the never before seen feat.
On top of Christian Yelich’s incredible accomplishment, Josh Hader had an impressive night himself and after getting the call to the mound in the ninth, picked up the save while throwing just nine pitches and striking out three batters in an inning that can only be described as purely dominant.
Hader faced Tyler O’Neil, Dexter Fowler, and Yairo Munoz and made quick work of the three without any of the three put up a real threat to Hader who what nothing but lights out.
Immaculate innings, once an extremely rare feat, have become more and more common as velocity and strikeout rates continue to rise. Despite this, it is still a fascinating accomplishment and an interesting one as well. There were four such innings in 2018 after a Major League record eight in 2017. Hader’s was the first immaculate inning to be thrown in a save situation since the Kenley Jansen of the Los Angeles Dodgers did so on May 18, 2017. Hader also became the first Brewer to pitch an immaculate inning since Mike Fiers on May 7, 2015, and the first by a Brewers pitcher for a save since Doug Jones on Sept. 23, 1997.
Hader and Yelich have both been stellar with the season just getting underway a few days ago and are both making early statements for Reliever of the Year and Most Valuable Player respectively. Yelich is currently hitting a monster .400 with 3 home runs, four hits, and five runs batted in through the first three games of the season while Hader has himself a 0.00 ERA and seven strikeouts through nine batters faced. While the season is just three games in, the Brewers are looking to repeat as National League Central Champions and if Yelich and Hader continue to produce like this, along with the rest of their star-studded lineup, the Brewers in a good position for a repeat.