This Dodgers team might well finish with no 100-strikeout batters.
Andre Ethier is the club’s most prolific whiffer, with 82 coming into today’s game against the San Diego Padres. He and Adrian Gonzalez (79) are likely to get a fair amount of rest in September, so keep an eye on Yasiel Puig (79 strikeouts) and, remarkably, Matt Kemp (69) over the final month too.
If the Phillies’ Ryan Howard can avoid striking out five more times over the final month of 2013, and Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig doesn’t stay stuck on 94, the Dodgers might be the majors’ only team without a 100-strikeout man.
How’s that for a statistical anomaly from a Mark McGwire-coached lineup?
Did we look up the last time that happened? Sure did: 2007, when Russell Martin whiffed a team-leading 89 times. Before Martin, the last Dodger to lead the team with fewer than 100 strikeouts was current third-base coach Tim Wallach in 1994.
But it’s a more impressive feat in 2013 with strikeouts at an all-time high, with a hitting coach whose final major-league season featured twice as many strikeouts as hits.
But McGwire took the job last fall with a mantra about patience, and has stayed true to that in his first season as hitting coach.
Some bullet points for a Friday morning:
• Kemp went 0-for-5 with a strikeout and two double-play groundouts in his first rehab game with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga last night. Kemp was the Quakes’ designated hitter and figures to play center field the next couple days. There were no ankle problems, mercifully, but Kemp was fooled by a couple changeups.
• In one early-morning pre-waiver deadline trade, John Axford went from the Milwaukee Brewers to the St. Louis Cardinals. If the Dodgers hook up with the Cardinals in the postseason, they will face a bullpen that can claim this:
Axford/Siegrist/Rosenthal/Mujica have a combined K/BB ratio of 224/58 over 202 1/3 innings this season.
— Ryan Boyer (@RyanPBoyer) August 30, 2013
• From ESPN.com: “Scorekeeping in baseball, however, is an art form, individual expression that makes you feel you are part of the game. It personally and precisely records every moment of the game, allowing you to replay and relive it forever.” • Not a baseball photo, but: Championship-winning coach takes a photo of himself and his wife kissing a championship trophy in 1976, loses hair, joins Twitter, re-stages the photo in 2013, shares photo with the world. Enjoy. • Baseball photo.
Tony La Russa and Yasiel Puig are playing ping pong together right now. The right way, obvs: pic.twitter.com/KcrRPF2u82
— Molly Knight (@molly_knight) August 30, 2013
• Whenever I need a laugh, I do drugs: