As the Diamondbacks were officially eliminated from the playoffs today, third baseman Mark Reynolds became the first MLB player ever to reach a dubious milestone — 200 strikeouts in a season. Jack Cust got all the publicity last week for setting the AL strikeout mark, but Reynolds is now the true undisputed Wizard Of Whiff. Big #200 came in the 2nd inning against Joel Pineiro this afternoon in the D-Backs’ 12-3 loss to the Cardinals. He later added his 201st K.
By contrast, Albert Pujols has struck out 226 times…over the last four seasons. Jose Hernandez made headlines a few years back when he was held out of the lineup to avoid setting the record at home, but guys like Reynolds have taken their lumps mostly in stride. And it appears as if Reynolds might have some company in the 200 Club by the end of the weekend.
Sandwich endorser Ryan Howard, who was oh-so-close to the mark last year when he struck out 199 times, sits on 196 with three games remaining, and should get the four he needs to join the exclusive fraternity.
The difference between Howard and Reynolds, though, is that Howard leads all of baseball with 47 home runs, while Reynolds is sitting with just 28.
While Reynolds is generating enough wind to power the state of Delaware, he’s not going to really change anything, as he told the ARIZONA REPUBLIC:
“It’s the way I hit,” he said. “I don’t know what to attribute it to. Of course, I don’t enjoy striking out, but if it happens, it happens; whatever.”
Howard, for what it’s worth, has basically stopped talking about the subject. From a May article in the WASHINGTON POST, he said he’s “done” discussing it:
“I’m moving on,” he said. “I’ve answered that question a lot. Yeah, I’m done with it.”
Understandably, it is perhaps his least favorite subject.
“You ground out. You fly out. You strike out. An out is an out,” Howard told the Philadelphia Inquirer in March. “You don’t hear anybody say, ‘That guy led the league in groundouts last year.’ “
I’ve personally never understood the big deal with strikeouts, as long as you produce otherwise. If you build your team to be as free of strikeouts as possible, you end up with a bunch of Juan Pierres running around - and nobody wants that.