In the 8th inning of Friday night's game, the Indians set a new MLB record for most strikeouts in a season by a pitching staff. Fittingly, the record-breaking strikeout came from Corey Kluber, who leads MLB with 268 of them. Given that the Indians have had the worst defense in baseball this year, it was wise of their pitchers to decide they'd better just handle things themselves as much as possible.
The record was previously held by the 2013 Tigers, who broke the mark set by the 2003 Cubs. Strikeouts have basically risen and risen and risen (the top 64 team totals have all come in the 2000s), so it's not a big surprise that a new record has now been set in each of the last two seasons, but still, it's an incredibly impressive number, and an accomplishment to be celebrated.
Here are the top ten totals*:
- 2014 Indians: 1,429
- 2013 Tigers: 1,428
- 2014 Rays: 1,417
- 2003 Cubs: 1,404
- 2012 Brewers: 1,402
- 2012 Phillies: 1,385
- 2012 Rays: 1,383
- 2013 Indians: 1,379
- 2004 Cubs: 1,346
- 2001 Cubs: 1,344
*These totals are as of the moment the Tribe broke the record; since two of these teams are active, the totals are changing inning by inning. This year's Dodgers and Yankees will also likely join the list before the season is over.
Corey Kluber has led the way with an MLB-leading 268 strikeouts. Trevor Bauer's 143, Carlos Carrasco's 130, and Danny Salazar's 120 are next on the team. Cody Allen has the highest K% on the team (32.6%), followed by Kluber, Carrasco, and Salazar.
All together the starting rotation has recorded 933 strikeouts (this only counts strikeouts from starts; Carrasco's relief work (for example) is excluded), which leads MLB this season and ranks 10th all time. The record for a starting rotation is 992, by the 2002 Diamondbacks.
The bullpen has combined for 496 strikeouts, which is a top 40 total for MLB history, but also only 4th in the AL this season. The record for a bullpen is 589, by the 2012 Diamondbacks, who experimented with short starts, and shattered the MLB record with 657 innings of relief pitching (4.06 per game).
There has been a lot to be frustrated about, but there's been plenty to enjoy too. Add this record to the latter column.