The 2002 Cubs of Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Carlos Zambrano, Matt Clement and company can kiss goodbye their major league record for most strikeouts in a month. A new team holds that record and it’s the 2014 Tampa Bay Rays.
The Rays struck out 287 batters in June, the most ever by any pitching staff in a single month. The final Rays K of June came when Brad Boxberger punched out Ichiro in the 12th inning of Monday night’s game against the Yankees.
The Rays’ staff overall has struck out 744 batters this year. David Price has the most on the team at 144, followed by Jake Odorizzi at 97 and Chris Archer at 90. Boxberger leads their bullpen with 46.
So you’ve got three Rays starters right now who have a realistic shot at 200 strikeouts on the season. And one reliever with a shot at 100 out of the pen.
That’s a lot of punchouts. But it’s not doing the Rays any good as they are still one of the worst clubs in the majors. Unfortunately, their hitters are about as helpless as other teams’ hitters are against their pitchers.
Maybe it’s something in the air there at Tropicana Field. Something that gets in the lungs of hitters, making them lethargic and unable to get the bat on the ball. I don’t know. Someone should look into it, maybe.