Big League Stew

A’s and K’s: Chris Carter whiffs as Oakland sets AL team record for strikeouts

David Brown
Big League Stew

It's possible your grandkids will want to know: Where were you when Oakland Athletics batters set the AL record for strikeouts in a season?

Give the youngsters some candy and tell them you can't recall, but that you definitely saw the highlight on The Stew:

Chris Carter, there must have been something out there better than the swing you put on that pitch from Rangers right-hander Roy Oswalt. No matter, I still want to believe in you.

[More: Is Ozzie Guillen one and done in Miami?]

But believe this for sure: Carter's strikeout in the second inning was Oakland's third of the game and 1,325th of the season, surpassing the AL-record whiff count set by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2007. And we all know what happened to the Rays a season later: They went to the World Series.

Speaking of specious correlations, it used to be widely believed that strikeouts were the worst thing possible for an offense. But the A's strikeout-laden season helps to prove something else. Reporter Casey Pratt, who covers the A's for CSN Bay Area, strikes up some good points:

[D]oes it really matter? They are having their best season since 2006. The all-or-nothing approach is something that has been working for them at the plate. The team has 99 home runs since the All-Star Break which ties them for the most in baseball. The team's 182 long balls this season are tied for seventh in MLB, and the club is 73-37 when they hit a homer.

Pratt adds that Oakland came into play Wednesday having scored 339 runs since the break, second-most in the AL. Before the break, they were last in the AL in runs scored. And they struck out less frequently in the first half.

This is not to say that strikeouts are good. They're certainly good for pitchers. But they're not as bad as double plays, for example. And even that's not the point. It's just that they can be overcome. Sluggers will strike out, but give me a team of sluggers, as the A's have been in the second half, and I'll take my chances. The A's did, and they're probably going to the playoffs. With a 9-3 victory at Texas, their magic number to clinch a wild-card spot rests at five and they're within three games of the Rangers for the AL West lead.

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