The American League's shortest standing team record has been shattered. After 12 long months, the Houston Astros surpassed the 2012 Oakland A's 1,387 team strikeouts to set a brand new season-single standard in futility.
They did it on their first try, too. That's most impressive.
Of course it really shouldn't come as a big surprise to anyone who's been paying attention since the beginning of the season. The Astros hit the ground swinging (and missing) during their first American League series in April. During that three-game series, Houston batters struck out a record 43 times. And they haven't slowed down a step since, passing 1,000 strikeouts in their 107th game on Aug 1. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that was faster than any team in history before them, breaking the Arizona Diamondbacks record of 109 games set in 2010.
This leads us to the inevitable. In their 148th game played on Saturday night, the Astros notched strikeout No. 1,388 when Trevor Crowe was caught looking by Los Angeles Angels ace Jered Weaver. For Crowe, it was strikeout No. 24 on the season. That's the second lowest total among Astros with 100 plate appearances. Only Jake Elmore has fewer. But even though Crowe hasn't been a frequent contributor to the record, his name will be etched in stone as the record breaker. Well, at least until the Astros make another run at it next season.
Then again, they could always reach Arizona's MLB record of 1,529 strikeouts set in 2010.
If for some reason you think they can't or won't reach that mark, or a make a run at their own record next season, consider this: There's one common denominator between the former AL record holders in Oakland and the new ones in Houston. His name in Chris Carter. In fact, in 2012, it was Carter's strikeout that broke the previous AL record. He actually probably owes Crowe for making sure it didn't happen again, or maybe even manager Bo Porter for giving him the night off on Saturday.
Regardless of that fact, Carter was actually a bigger part of Houston's record this season. In 2012, he struck 83 times in 260 plate appearances . This season, he's struck out a league high 196 times in 458 plate appearances.
It's not fair to only pick on Carter though. Teammates Jason Castro (130) and Brian Barnes (112) have also passed the century mark. An additional six Astros have struck out at least 70 times. That's a lot of whiffin', and it's one of the main reasons why Houston fell to an AL worst 51-97 with their 6-2 loss on Saturday night.