Top Moments In Miller Park History: Ben Sheets’ 18 Strikeout Game
With the renaming of Miller Park officially happening at year’s end, here at Reviewing the Brew, we’re going to remember the top Brewers moments in Miller Park’s history.
Starting on January 1st, the Brewers home stadium will no longer be called Miller Park, but instead will be called American Family Field. Despite fan uproar about the change, it’s going to happen. The stadium has been named Miller Park for 20 years and has brought some incredible memories to Brewers fans.
We are going to be remembering some of the most important moments that came from this stadium and tell the stories of these days. Today we are going to backtrack 16 years to a date in which a Brewers pitcher set a franchise record for the most amount of strikeouts in a game.
Ben Sheets 18 Strikeout game vs the Atlanta Braves (5/16/2004)
In this early season daytime matchup the Milwaukee Brewers called upon Ben Sheets to pitch against Jaret Wright of the Atlanta Braves. Little did any of the 20,654 fans in attendance know that on this day Sheets was about to set a single game strikeout franchise record of 18, surpassing the previous franchise best of 14 set by Moose Haas in 1978.
To begin the game, Ben Sheets surrendered a leadoff double to Dewayne Wise before settling in to retire the next 15 Braves. The next Brave to reach base would be Nick Green who drew a walk in the sixth inning.
Offensively, the Brewers put up three runs in the first inning, which allowed Ben Sheets to pitch with a lead. Between pitching with the lead and the shadows of Miller Park casting across the ball diamond, Ben Sheets was was able to pitch on a completely different level this day.
Sheet’s fastball was a force to be reckoned with on most days, but his curveball was especially nasty on this May day. He was able to mix pitches in and out of the shadows all day long, often attacking batters early in the count, and he threw a first pitch strike on 17 of the 20 batters he faced.
Because he was working so efficiently, Sheet’s also worked effectively by generating a ton of swing and misses and subsequently strikeouts. By games end, three different Braves wore the golden sombrero and only one Braves player did not strike out against Sheets.
On three different occasions Sheet’s would strike out the side: the fifth, eighth, and ninth innings. In what was his fourth career complete game, Sheet’s seemed to get stronger as the game went on as he finished the game by striking out six of the final seven batters.
He only had 12 strikeouts through the seventh inning. That’s still a great game, but getting six more in the final six outs, after everyone in the opposing lineup had already seen him two or three times? That’s incredible.
Sheet’s made just one mistake all game in which Andrew Jones hit a solo home run in the seventh inning. However, afterwards Jones would go onto to say “The way he was pitching, he could have thrown a no-hitter, when people pitch like that, there’s nothing you can do.”
The Brewers would win the game 4-1 in the end, but everyone was focused on the fact that Ben Sheet’s had just thrown the most amount of strikeouts in a game in Milwaukee Brewers history and the most in a MLB game since Randy Johnson had 20 in 2001. To date, Ben Sheets’ 18 strikeouts is still the franchise record.
Since then there have been numerous amounts of Miller Park memories made. Be sure to stay tuned to Reviewing the Brew as we share more of our favorite memories of the 20 years of Miller Park.