Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 8/8/12
MILWAUKEE This was supposed to be the beginning of the end. The moment where the Milwaukee Brewers revealed what was truly behind the curtain. The game where Mike Fiers revealed what he had been all along: a late-round draft pick that happened to catch the rest of baseball by surprise. As a pitcher so reliant on deception and not on pure stuff, those who doubted Fiers' performance through his first 12 starts had cited his lack of repeat opponents as evidence suggesting a regression was inevitable sooner rather than later. Only pitchers like Pedro Martinez could get by on deception alone, they'd say. But at the outset of Tuesday's game against Cincinnati arguably baseball's best team and Fiers' first repeat opponent of his career Fiers was nothing less than an unstoppable force. It wasn't until the fifth inning that the thought had crossed Fiers' mind about what was in the works. He knew all along he hadn't given up a hit until that point. But right then, he thought about what could be. A no-hitter. A game that would state very clearly to the rest of major league baseball that he had arrived. Fiers could feel the Miller Park crowd behind him. "When the crowd started getting behind me," Fiers said, "I couldn't help but think about it." Fiers had already been the Brewers' biggest surprise of 2012, a bright light in an otherwise dark season. Through the first 12 starts of his career, he boasted baseball's best ERA (1.88) among starters and one of the league's best WHIPs (1.083) although he didn't qualify for the outright lead due to his lack of starts. But this game was different from the others a chance for him to prove that his deception would outlast the odds. Through 18 batters, Fiers had set down every single one of them. And on only two occasions had he received notable help from his teammates in the field once on a Todd Frazier line drive that Ryan Braun caught on the run in left field and once on a sliding catch from Norichika Aoki. But this outing had undoubtedly been on Fiers' own laurels through six innings. "He was spectacular," said reliever Jim Henderson, who had been teammates with Fiers in Nashville just a few months ago. "You could almost tell from the first inning that he was on." Then, a 2-2 cutter to Zack Cozart a pretty good pitch, according to Fiers hit the barrel of Cozart's bat flying to center field and dropped to the grass. Fiers' no-hitter was gone, but as the Milwaukee crowd rose to its feet, it was clear that this game would be a statement for Fiers, nonetheless. Cozart would eventually score, but Fiers' outstanding performance would continue in spite of the one run. And after allowing two more hits, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke trotted out to the mound to check on his impressive young pitcher. Naturally, Fiers assumed his night was done. "I was about to give him the ball," Fiers said, "and he was like Hold on, I'm not taking you out yet. I want to see if you're alright.' He was great. He had confidence in me." And with Ryan Ludwick at the plate, Fiers remained on the attack. Knowing Ludwick was looking for breaking balls something any batter with a scouting report would expect from Fiers the young pitcher decided to take a risk. He threw five straight fastballs. The pitch that had earned Fiers the scrutiny he's heard his entire career that he lacked velocity, that he didn't have the power to overwhelm major league hitters had become his choice pitch in the most important at-bat of his most important performance of the season. He continued to hurl the fastball, just barely touching 90 mph, until Ludwick chased the fifth one, high and out of the zone, for Fiers' final strikeout of the night. The pitch capped a fantastic eight-inning, three-hit, seven-strikeout outing that seemed to loudly declare his relevance to the rest of the major leagues. "That was quite a ballgame," Roenicke said. "He's baffling guys. He's throwing balls by people. He's not walking people that could hurt him. I think he's shown that he can pitch. He's a battler. He really competes well, and he just baffles guys with all the different stuff he has." Fiers walked off the mound to one of the season's largest ovations at Miller Park. He tipped the bill of his hat to the crowd and took it all in a 22nd-round pick who was never supposed to be here, throwing the game of his life. Follow Ryan Kartje on Twitter.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Blake Griffin opts out of contract to become free agent

Report: Wolves targeting Kyle Lowry, Jrue Holiday, other point guards in free agency

Conor McGregor’s coach says tentative plans include a return to UFC in 2017

Report: Mets open for business on the trade market

Markelle Fultz believes the Sixers are already a playoff team

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Jimmy Butler’s attitude toward Fred Hoiberg made players ‘uncomfortable’

St. Louis Cardinals to hold first LGBTQ Pride Night

John Mara: Extending Odell Beckham Jr. isn’t team’s No. 1 priority

Mike Trout reportedly wanted to sign ‘lifetime deal’ with Angels

Blackhawks, Blue Jackets swap Artemi Panarin, Brandon Saad

Matt Forte expected to be ‘offensive workhorse’ for Jets?

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Kicking it: David Villa isn't interested in a 'retirement tour'

Box Score 6/23: Philly continues to trust the process

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'NBA Draft going back to school?' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Gary Payton Award for best trash talk of the year

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Kicking it: David Villa isn't interested in a 'retirement tour'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'NBA Draft going back to school?' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker