Unused in Game 6, Hader well rested for finale

Counsell says relief ace will face Dodgers with World Series bid on line

October 20th, 2018

MILWAUKEE -- Just as important as the events that transpired in the Brewers' 7-2 win over the Dodgers in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series on Friday night was one event that didn't.

never emerged through the bullpen door.

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

Instead, Hader will have three days' rest in the tank and be ready for Saturday's Game 7 at Miller Park, meaning the Brewers will have their best reliever at full strength behind their best starting pitcher, . They'll join the rest of the staff in vying for a spot opposite the Red Sox in the World Series.

How many innings could Hader cover in Game 7?

"Twelve," manager Craig Counsell said.

Counsell was kidding.

"But you'll see him tomorrow," he said.

Debating the use of Hader was Milwaukee baseball fans' favorite parlor game in 2018, when the 24-year-old led NL relievers with 81 1/3 innings and 140 strikeouts, but took a fascinating path that often included multi-inning outings with multiple days of rest in between.

That's how Hader performed best, the Brewers learned. When rested, his power fastball/power slider combination made him one of the most challenging pitchers to hit in baseball, against hitters from both sides of the plate.

"That's their best reliever, and obviously you would have liked to have kept the game close enough to have them use him tonight," Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said. "They got away tonight because of the run differential."

Hader declined to speculate how early in Game 7 he might be deployed or how many innings he might pitch. His season highs were three innings on July 3 against the Twins and Game 1 of the NLCS against the Dodgers, when he set a season high by throwing 46 pitches in a Brewers win. The team that wins Game 7 will have two days' rest before Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday at Fenway Park.

"I have no idea," Hader said. "I don't make those calls."

Whenever the call comes, Hader is eager to be on the mound in Game 7.

"It was amazing how loud everybody got," he said. "You feed off of that adrenaline and that energy. Hopefully [on Saturday], it's even louder, and there are more people. This is what we played for the whole season. This is the point we want to be at. There's no backing down."