Closing in on a Dubious Record

The 2001 season will forever be on the minds of Arizona Diamondbacks fans. Bring up that year and fans will wax poetic about having a team of destiny. A team that would bring down the vaulted New York Yankees and give the desert its first world championship.

Discussions will center on luminaries such as Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, and Luis Gonzalez. Fans will talk about a dominating pitching staff that would record 1,297 strikeouts including 372 by Johnson and 293 by Schilling.

What no one will bring up when talking about the 2001 season is the Milwaukee Brewers. While the Diamondbacks would win 92 games and go to their first World Series, the Brewers would win just 68 games and finish in fourth place.

That is not to say that 2001 Brewers team was not historic, it was just historic for the wrong reasons. That year the Brewers hitters would strike out a total of 1,399 times to set a Major League record.

They would have four hitters with over 100 strikeouts including shortstop Jose Hernandez (185), first baseman Richie Sexson (178), right fielder Jeromy Burnitz (150), and left fielder Geoff Jenkins (120). Center fielder Devon White would just miss this list striking out 95 times in what could have been the only outfield in baseball to have all three members strike out more than 100 times.

At the time the strikeout record seemed incomprehensible. No team could possibly break this record. Who would ever assemble a roster that could reach such staggering heights of striking out?

Enter the 2010 Arizona Diamondbacks. Through the first 150 games of the season the Diamondbacks have accumulated 1,397 strikeouts. With 12 games remaining, Arizona hitters need just two strikeouts to tie and three to break the record.

Led by strikeout king Mark Reynolds, this is a team of destiny; just for the wrong reasons. For the past two years Reynolds has shown a knack for striking out setting a Major League Baseball records for whiffs in each of his first three seasons.

Playing in 138 games this season Reynolds has already accumulated 201 strikeouts. He has more than twice as many strikeouts as he has hits (98) and is on pace to shatter his single-season record of 223 strikeouts set last year.

The 2010 Diamondbacks have five players with over 100 strikeouts and may have six if Stephen Drew strikes out five times in the last 12 games. Besides Reynolds (201), there is also first baseman Adam LaRoche (155), outfielder Justin Upton (152), outfielder Chris Young (134), and second baseman Kelly Johnson (133). Never before in franchise history has the Diamondbacks had five players ranked in the top 20 for strikeouts.

The San Francisco Giants have what is argued the best pitching staff in the National League. As a team their pitchers have recorded 1,215 strikeouts for the season nearly 100 strikeouts less than the Diamondbacks hitters this season. Of course you could argue that the Giants pitchers have such a high total as a result of playing the Diamondbacks so often during the season.

So in a season where nothing seems to have gone right for the Diamondbacks, you can chalk up another depressing reminder of how embarrassing this season has been. It would only be fitting for this season to end with the Diamondbacks striking out in the ninth inning to lose the final game of the year padding their record.


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