This year’s NLCS has featured a few dominant pitching performances, including one from a former San Diego Padres pitcher.
“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” If that’s true, a large number of San Diego Padres fans are currently cheering on the Milwaukee Brewers in this year’s National League Championship series, as they battle the Los Angeles Dodgers. If you needed another reason than just rooting against the Dodgers to cheer on the Brewers, former Friar Jhoulys Chacin may make that process a little easier.
After posting a 15-8, 3.50 ERA, and 1.16 WHIP season in Milwaukee, Chachin has made two starts during the 2018 postseason, one in the NLDS (against the Colorado Rockies) and one in the NLCS (against the Dodgers). Chacin is 2-0, giving up no runs on six hits and striking out 9 in 10.1 innings.
According to @StatsBySTATS, Chacin became just the sixth pitcher in MLB history to go at least five-shutout innings in each of his first two postseason starts, joining Christy Mathewson, Duster Mails, Joe Niekro, Steve Avery and Corey Kluber as the only ones to accomplish the feat.
Armed with one of the best sliders in the game, the severely underrated starter has been a pleasure to watch, but hurts a little, knowing the Padres could have re-signed him last offseason.
This got us thinking, which San Diego Padres pitchers have dominated like this in the postseason. Well, there have been six performances of at least five-shutout innings, one shutout, three double-digit strikeout performances, and one man who has stood above the rest.
Kevin Brown‘s 1998 playoff run with the San Diego Padres.
Twenty years ago, our beloved San Diego Padres battled the New York Yankees in the 1998 World Series, after defeating the Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves behind the dominant arm of Kevin Brown. The Bruce Bochy led team won 98 games and featured a 50-home run season from Greg Vaughn and 53 saves from Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman.
Through the regular season, Brown went 18-7 with a 2.38 ERA and struck out 257 hitters in 257 innings of work. He tossed seven complete games, three of them shutouts, and finished with an ERA+ of 164 and a WHIP of 1.07. His dominance only increased in his 1998 Divisional and Championship Series starts.
Sorted by Baseball Reference’s Game Score, Kevin Brown recorded the two best playoff starts in San Diego Padres history, during the team’s 1998 run.
Game one of the NLDS
Brown took the ball in game one of the NLDS against the Houston Astros, finishing with a game score of 92, the highest in franchise history. Across eight shutout innings, he allowed just two hits (both singles) and two walks while striking out a franchise-record 16 hitters (Padres playoff record).
As Brown outdueled Randy Johnson in the Astrodome, Greg Vaughn’s 8th inning home run off the Big Unit would secure a 2-1 victory for the Padres and an early series lead.
Game two of the NLCS
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His next start came in game two of the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves. Brown needed just 2:54 to plow through a shutout victory against Chipper Jones, Javy Lopez, Andruw Jones, and the rest an impressive Atlanta lineup.
Brown’s nine-inning, three hit, three walk, and 11 strikeout performance earned a game score of 89, the second highest in Padres playoff history. That’s 27 strikeouts, five hits allowed, and no runs through two outings.
Unfortunately, the magic wore off once the Padres made it to the World Series, falling to a sweep at the hands of the Yankees. Brown would make two starts in the Fall Classic, going 14.1 combined innings and giving up seven runs on 14 hits in his two losses.