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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to defend their three straight American League Central titles.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Tigers extend AL record for consecutive 10-K games


This K thing is catching.

Yes, the Tigers have two of the best strikeout artists in the big leagues in Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, but everyone on the staff has been getting in the act recently.

It's why they now hold the American League record with seven straight games of 10 or more strikeouts after Thursday's game against Houston, and are one off the Major League Baseball record of eight, set last year by the Brewers.

Anibal Sanchez, of course, set the franchise record with 17 strikeouts against the Braves midway through the last home stand. Doug Fister set the American League record for consecutive strikeouts (nine) last September.

There are guys up and down the bullpen who can rack up the strikeouts, too. The Tigers have six different relievers who have posted strikeout-per-nine-innings ratios better than 10.0.

Only two teams, Detroit (9.84) and Boston (9.98), have strikeout-per-nine-innings ratios better than one per inning. Those same two teams — the Tigers (263) and Red Sox (266) — were the only two teams coming into Thursday with more than 250 strikeouts as a team.

Why are strikeouts becoming such a vogue item? It's not like it's a new concept, certainly.

"I think it tells you what’s going on in baseball now is that a lot of teams have gotten away from a two-strike approach, and they’re just swinging. That’s their philosophy. Take three good hacks, don’t worry," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

"Some people don’t worry so much about strikeouts, and it’s almost a philosophy — of some organizations.

"So that is one of the reasons. Plus, these guys are pretty good. That’s another reason.

"Some aren’t so much into that two-strike approach stuff. I’m sure you can check some kind of numbers, statistics on production — I’m sure that’s a numbers thing. We don’t do that. We still believe in the two-strike approach. That’s OK. It’s just a difference in philosophy."

Leyland has also mentioned the fact that modern-day bullpens are loaded with "heavy equipment" more than ever before, rolling fireballer after fireballer out at opposing hitters.

"I think it’s a combination of both. I think bullpens are better than ever in the history of the game," Leyland said.

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