As we get ready to turn the calendar over to 2019, we wanted to take a look back at some of the more memorable moments in 2018. Today we take a look at some of the best pitching performances we saw, from record-setting debuts to record-setting relief outings. We’re limiting ourselves to 5 here, although these are in no particular order. We’re sure to have missed a few other noteworthy performances because of that — feel free to share yours in the comments.
May 13th vs. Colorado
5.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 13 K
The 21-year-old Peralta set a franchise record for most strikeouts in a debut, fanning 13 Rockies as his mom watched him pitch for the first time ever as a pro -- on Mother’s Day. You couldn’t write a better script. Not only did Peralta break a Brewers record, but he was the first pitcher since pre-injury Matt Harvey in 2012 to strike out double-digit batters in his first career start and put up the most since Stephen Strasburg struck out 14 in what might’ve been the best (and most hyped) debut ever in 2010.
August 14th vs. Chicago
7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 10 K
Chacin was the Brewers’ most consistent starter for much of the year, but this was the outing where he looked like the team’s bonafide ace. In the first of two important games in Chicago against the division-leading Cubs, the Brewers finally got to nemesis Jose Quintana (including Ryan Braun’s “LET’S FUNNING GO” moment in the first inning), and Chacin never gave the Cubs a chance, striking out a season-high 10 and only allowed three runners to reach second base. While the Brewers were still 2 games behind the Cubs in the standings after this win, it did force a tie in the all-important Win Column at the time.
June 26th vs. Kansas City
7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K
Arguably more impressive than his debut, Peralta’s 4th career start was much of the same, flying through the Royals’ order with ease, and working much more efficiently than his first start. This outing made 3 of his first 4 starts scoreless outings, and the second time he allowed just 1 hit despite throwing almost nothing but fastballs. Teams started to hit Peralta more after this start, but he still showed he could be a quality rotation arm.
September 10th vs. Chicago
2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
This wasn’t the only time Hader struck out every batter he faced in 2018, but it might’ve been one of the most impactful. As the Brewers tried to chase down the Cubs in the NL Central race in September, Hader mowed down the heart of the Cubs’ lineup, throwing 19 of his 24 pitches for strikes. In order, he got David Bote swinging, Addison Russell swinging, Daniel Murphy swinging, Kris Bryant swinging, Anthony Rizzo swinging, and Javier Baez looking. He handed the ball off to Jeremy Jeffress, who struck out 2 more in the 9th, to secure a one-run Brewers win and get the Cream City Nine within one game of the Cubs.
April 30th vs. Cincinnati
2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K
It’s hard not to pick this as the top pitching performance of the year, considering it broke an (admittedly obscure) MLB record for most strikeouts in an outing shorter than 3 innings. Every out Hader recorded was a strikeout, and none of the Reds facing him were particularly close to making contact. The outing capped off a dominant first month of the year for Hader -- he finished April with 39 strikeouts in 18 innings -- and put his name on the map in terms of national coverage.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference