September 22, 2010
There were also dubious records to be broken and one of the biggest we've kept an eye on — the Arizona Diamondbacks' "pursuit" of the single-season record for team strikeouts — finally fell at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Stephen Drew(notes) (right) and the D'Backs struck out six times to run their season total to 1,403 whiffs. Adam LaRoche's(notes) strikeout in the sixth inning was the 1,400th of the season, which got Jose Hernandez and the 2001 Milwaukee Brewers off the hook as the freest swinging team in history.
And while interim manager Kirk Gibson wasn't going to pass out victory cigars, he wasn't going to drape the team's clubhouse in black and start playing a funeral dirge on the clubhouse boombox, either.
"If we were breaking the record when we were in first place, I'd be all for it. That's not the case. [...] I'm not going to talk about that; these guys come out here, they prepare, they've tried to make adjustments, they've busted their tails right to the end, up to this day, and I'm not going to bag on them."
The main workload has been carried by five players who have struck out 125 or more times this year — Adam LaRoche (157), Kelly Johnson(notes) (133), Chris Young (134), Justin Upton(notes) (152) and Mark Reynolds(notes) (202). And for the second season in a row, Reynolds has a shot at breaking the individual record that he already owns — 223 or bust!
Arizona might have an outside chance at topping 1,500 strikeouts for the season, but that total isn't as crippling to an offense as you may think. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic talked to Tom Tango last week and the latter calculated that a strikeout only costs a team an extra .001 runs when compared to an out that's put into play.
"So if you have Mark Reynolds with 200 strikeouts, and given that the average hitter would strike out 100 times, Reynolds' strikeouts cost one run," [Tango] wrote in an e-mail. "I know it doesn't 'feel' like it, and I know it's incredibly frustrating to see a hitter strike out in clutch situations, since fans predominantly simply want the batter to put the damn bat on the damn ball."
That line of thought is reflected in Arizona's stat totals. The Diamondbacks are eighth in the National League when it comes to runs and third in home runs. When asked about the record, many Diamondbacks often write it off as a cost of having a good offense.
That's not to say that they're happy with the record or don't want to decrease that total for next year. Strikeouts, while relatively equal to other negative outcomes, are still outs. And the name of the game is to avoid making them.
Plus, watching the D'Backs is boring for guys like Tom Verducci, you know.Want more Big League Stew during this year's postseason? Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
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