Above: Young rookie Geo. Ruth of the Boston nine is retired on three strikes.
Transplanted Astros watcher Yancey Roy of Newsday, pausing from his coverage of New York politics to talk about more important things like baseball, asks this one:
Astros have 232 strikeouts (I think) in 23 games. 10 per game. What’s the MLB record for a season?
For the uninitiated: That’s strikeouts by Astros batters, not pitchers. The steady breeze being generated at home plate will allow Jim Crane to bump up the ballpark thermostat this summer, saving precious dollars toward
Wandy Rodriguez’s contract player development.
I would’ve guessed the answer was the Rob Deer or Gorman Thomas era of the Milwaukee Brewers, when they swung hard for the fences and didn’t need no stinking batting averages. The Crew managed 1,040 team strikeouts in 1987 — led by Deer (186), Dale Sveum (133), Glenn Braggs (97) and Robin Yount (94).
And I wouldn’t have been close.
The record is freshly minted: In 2010, the Diamondbacks struck out 1,529 times. That’s an average of 9.4 K’s per game. (The AL record was set by the A’s just last year — 1,387 whiffs, and they didn’t even need Reggie Jackson.)
The 2013 Astros have struck out 248 times in 25 games. That’s an average of 9.9 strikeouts per contest. The sample size is small, but projects to historic futility: a record 1,604 strikeouts for a full season. Chris Carter leads the charge (43), followed by Rick Ankiel (29), and Carlos Pena (26) — a trio who have clubbed a combined 12 homers but have a cumulative batting average of .204.
However, the march to the record — and back to the dugout — may be slowed by the hand injury to Justin Maxwell (22 K’s) and the demotion of O&B Blog sentimental favorite Brett Wallace (17 in just 24 at-bats). But there’s still that chance.
Thanks for your question, Yancey. And now, on with the countdown.