Best pitcher hitting moments in Milwaukee Brewers history

MILWAUKEE, WI - MAY 27: Yovani Gallardo #49 of the Milwaukee Brewers hits a walk off double in the bottom of the eleventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Miller Park on May 27, 2014 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - MAY 27: Yovani Gallardo #49 of the Milwaukee Brewers hits a walk off double in the bottom of the eleventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Miller Park on May 27, 2014 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Brewers
Milwaukee Brewers, Ben Sheets, (Photo credit should read SCOTT ROVAK/AFP via Getty Images) /

The Twilight Zone of Pitcher Hitting

You may be wondering why the picture at the top of this slide is Ben Sheets, a notoriously awful hitter with a career batting average of .076 and OPS+ (a stat where league average is 100) of -47. We’ll get to that, but first a few other crazy moments of Brewer pitchers trying to hit.

Brooks Kieschnick Intentional Walk May 5, 2004

The other two slides have started with Yovani Gallardo, possibly the best hitting Brewer pitcher, but Kieschnick could throw his name in the hat as well. He was so good that he started 40 games in the outfield in his career and four more as the Brewers designated hitter. He hit seven home runs in 2003, but only three as a pitcher.

In 2004, he didn’t play the field, but on Cinco de Mayo 2004 the Reds were still scared enough of his hitting prowess to intentionally walk him with the game tied in the 9th inning after a Chad Moeller double to bring up Scott Podsednik. That’s right, they intentionally walked a pitcher to bring up the leadoff hitter who had an .805 OPS at the time. And then it worked! Podsednik grounded into a double play and the half-inning was over.

Jordan Lyles 15th inning 2-out walk August 24, 2018

The Brewers were dead in the water in this marathon game. Lyles had given up two runs in the top of the 15th inning on a demoralizing bloop single by Francisco Cervelli. The Pirates had two outs and just had to get a pitcher out to win the game. Then something amazing happened. Clay Holmes couldn’t find the strike zone and walked Lyles.

Erik Kratz and Orlando Arcia would then hit back to back singles to win the game and Lyles scored the game-winning run to finish off an extremely unlikely sequence of events in the bottom of the 15th. If Lyles gets out here and the Brewers lose, they would have come up one game short of the Cubs in the division and there would be no game 163 and no 2018 division championship. It just goes to show you that it’s never over in baseball, no matter how dire things seem.

Tomo Ohka Bases Loaded Catcher Interference August 24, 2006

In another crazy coincidence, this play happened exactly 12 years to the day before Lyles’ heroic walk. In one of the best hitting performances in Brewer pitcher history, Ohka had 4 RBI in this game. That’s crazy enough, but even better is that one of them came off of a catcher interference with the bases loaded. Presumably, he swung and hit the catchers glove, as that is what usually happens on a catcher’s interference. He was awarded first base and every player moves up a base. The Brewers just so happened to have the bases loaded and Geoff Jenkins knocked him in to score.

Chris Short Catcher Interference Nolan Ryan pitching August 7, 1973

In a tie game in the bottom of the ninth with Nolan Ryan, possibly the greatest pitcher of all-time on the mound, Chris Short got on base. Short, a guy in the final season of his career who hadn’t had a plate appearance in two years, stepped to the plate with two outs after a George Scott single. The inning should have been over, and then Short hit the catcher’s glove and got on first base.

A 35-year-old pitcher who hadn’t hit in two years got on base against Nolan Ryan. Then Ellie Rodriguez flew out, ending what could have been one of the greatest stories of an improbable walk-off ever. Even so, the best moments like this are ones off of all-time great pitchers. There have only been three pitchers in Brewer history to get a catcher interference and I’d feel bad leaving the third, Seth McClung, out of this so here’s an honorable mention to him.

Ben Sheets RBI walk from Tom Glavine June 5, 2003

Tom Glavine had a rough first inning on this fateful day at Shea Stadium. It was already 3-0 before Sheets came up with the bases loaded. The good news for Glavine was that there were two outs and he was a future Hall-of-Fame pitcher pitching to Ben Sheets. And then Ben Sheets, a terrible hitter, put up a fight.

After getting down in the count 1-2, Sheets took two balls to make it a full count and then he fouled off two pitches, and finally, Glavine threw ball four. Sheets had an eight-pitch battle with a Hall-of-Fame pitcher and won it.

Here’s a fun fact: Sheets is the franchise leader in walks for a pitcher with 18. Sure, it’s mostly due to his long tenure with the team, but Ben Sheets holds a franchise record in a hitting category and the DH coming solidifies that forever. Maybe there’s a little comfort in knowing he’ll always hold that record.

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I hope you enjoyed all seventeen of these crazy, stupid, ridiculous moments that weren’t supposed to happen as much as I did. Let me know what your favorites were, or any others that you remember in the comments below or @DairylandXpress.