Josh Hader's future might be in the starting rotation of the Milwaukee Brewers, but he's having a historical season in the bullpen in 2017.
Hader was recalled from Colorado Springs, where he started 26 games over the past two years, in early June as Milwaukee was searching for a left-handed reliever.
He's fit the bill and then some.
In 30 innings this season, Hader has allowed four runs on just 14 hits while striking out 39 (and three of those hits and two of the runs came in one appearance at Colorado -- he needs to stay out of that state as his ERA at home in Triple-A was nearly 6). Opponents are batting just .141 off him, or, 4.2 hits per nine innings.
Previous to 2017, in the history of Major League Baseball, only 14 times had a pitcher (all relievers) allowed as few hits per nine innings (with a minimum of 30 innings).
Interestingly, two others besides Hader -- the Cubs' Carl Edwards and Texas' Keone Kela -- are also on pace this year to hit that mark. Also, of the previous 14 occasions, all but three have happened since 2008.
Milwaukee's Doug Henry, in 1991, was the first to accomplish the feat and it wasn't repeated for 10 years.
Hader has allowed only three hits at Miller Park (opponents are 3 for 31) while left-handed batters are 5 for 39 (.128) against him with one extra-base hit. (Hey, righties are only 9 for 60, .150).
Hader has allowed more than one hit in a game just twice and has six games in which he has pitched at least one inning and not allowed a hit.
Dave Heller is the author of the upcoming book Ken Williams: A Slugger in Ruth's Shadow as well as Facing Ted Williams Players from the Golden Age of Baseball Recall the Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived and As Good As It Got: The 1944 St. Louis Browns