It took quite some time for Josh Hader to get comfortable with the San Diego Padres.
He had begun to struggle before the trade deadline as rumors swirled about, something that had occurred in 2021 as well. And it was not a surprise that Hader struggled after the trade to the Padres, taking nearly a month to settle in and get into a rhythm.
San Diego Padres getting Josh Hader they hoped for
Once he settled in and got comfortable, Hader began to dominate once more. He ended the season by allowing just one unearned run in 9.1 innings on four hits and a walk, striking out 13 batters. His success down the stretch helped the Padres hold on to one of the Wild Card spots, finally solidifying the back of their bullpen down the stretch.
That success has continued into October. Hader nailed down the save on Tuesday, recording the final four outs of the Padres 5-3 victory over the Dodgers. Although he walked the first batter he faced in the eighth inning, he was able to escape the jam and shut down the Dodgers’ rally. Hader allowed a two out double in the bottom of the ninth but avoided any damage by getting Will Smith to fly out to end the game. In doing so, Hader became the first Padres’ reliever to record a postseason save of more than one inning since Goose Gossage in 1984.
This is what the Padres had hoped for. The ninth inning had been a question mark before Hader’s arrival, with those questions only getting louder as he struggled. But now, he is starting to be what the Padres need – an answer for the ninth inning that can emphatically slam the door during the postseason.
The San Diego Padres needed Josh Hader to be the pitcher he has been in the past. He has found that form at the perfect time.