Do you know what happened in 2002? Yes, lots of things. Jimmy Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize, for instance. But also, Randy Johnson struck out 334 batters. That is the last time a major league pitcher topped 300 strikeouts.
So far in 2013, Yu Darvish has started eight games. He has 80 strikeouts. If he makes the major league standard 33 starts this year, that would be 330 strikeouts. I don’t know if that will happen. (I never know anything. If I did we wouldn’t need this column.)
As to Darvish, first, his numbers are appreciably better this year, so we might expect regression. But then, he’s throwing his slider a lot more, so maybe that’s it. He’s 26, so he might still get better.
No one has come close to 300 Ks in recent years. Darvish is certainly the most intriguing candidate thus far, and we’ll be keeping an eye on him.
Time for a mea culpa. I screwed up last week by saying Cy Young held the single-season BB/9 record. It’s actually Carlos Silva, who you only remember because he was active just a few years ago and not because he has a fancy pitching award named for him. Mistakes were made. I feel bad about it.
Still, we need to pay attention to Bartolo Colon. He’s starting after this article goes to press, but since we last checked in, he pitched four (very poor) innings without walking a batter. So that’s still one walk for the entire season. At 0.22 walks per nine innings, he’s currently besting Silva by a couple of tenths. Stay tuned.
Strikeout tracking, week 3…
Chris Carter, 57 Ks, 231 K pace: Carter really slowed down substantially this week, but he’s still on pace to break the single-season record while providing solid offensive value.
Rickie Weeks 42 Ks, 184 K pace: Striking out 200 times is hard. Not everyone can do it. It’s looking like Weeks might not have what it takes. He gets one more week to show us he’s up for the challenge.
Adam Dunn, 46 Ks, 201 K pace: Sure, Adam Dunn is down a little, but he’s still keeping the pace. His hitting line continues to be anemic, though. He needs to do better.
Will Middlebrooks, 43 Ks, 179 K pace: Middlebrooks is apparently playing hurt and his pace is down. He may be off this list next week.
Pedro Alvarez, 42 Ks, 174 K pace: Ahem. Another one falling off the pace. I expected that eventually the competition would be narrowed to Dunn and Carter, but it’s looking like it might happen faster than I thought.
Rick Ankiel, 37 Ks, 154 K pace: Ankiel was cut (something else I missed last week. I promise to hustle to first extra hard in the future), but then the Mets grabbed him. We’ll keep him here and see how things materialize.
Joey Votto is down to a 137 walk pace. I’m going to drop him for now.
The Astros struck out just a little less this week (probably because they don’t have Ankiel anymore), but are still averaging almost exactly 10 Ks per game (it’s like Yu Darvish is the only starting pitcher they ever face) and are on pace for 1,616. The record is 1,387. I have to keep typing that because I can’t believe how not close the Astros are trying to make it.
The weekly list. It’s why you love me…
Todd Helton (573) still needs just one more double to enter the top-20. Come on, Todd, you’re really milking it here.
Adrian Beltre keeps hitting doubles and now needs 29 to reach 500.
Albert Pujols’ foot hurts. He didn’t hit any homers. He still needs 20 to reach 500 and 33 to get into the top 20.
Prince Fielder hit one homer this week and needs 31 to reach 300.
Todd Helton needs 35 extra base hits to get to 1,000. Really thinking about dropping this one. What do you think?
Runs batted in:
Albert Pujols now needs 45 to reach 1,500.
Juan Pierre (603) didn’t steal any new bases this week. However, he was caught once and now needs only one more to reach 200.
Michael Bourn is back! He even stole a few bases and now needs 21 to get to 300.
Sabathia is still hanging out at 195.
Jonathan Papelbon (264) needs 36 to get to 300.
Once again, Ryan Dempster struck out only four. He now needs 31 to reach 2,000.
Pettitte walked one this week and needs 5 to reach 1,000.
Pittsburgh had four wins this week and needs 18 to make it to 10,000.
Thanks for reading. As always, stats are through Monday’s games. Tell me if I’m missing anything.