Strikeout totals have reached a previously unseen level

The Orioles defeated the Mariners, 7–2, on Tuesday, with Brian Matusz coming out of the pen to get the last four outs for Baltimore. Matusz had a pair of strikeouts, and his whiff of Kyle Seager was the 5992nd and last strikeout in the majors during the month of April, capping the highest April strikeout total in any season in MLB history.

It’s not just the strikeout total that was noteworthy; the average of 15.29 strikeouts per game during April was the second highest in a full month in major-league history. (We’re not including fragmentary baseball months, usually March or October, in which fewer than 60 games were played.) The record was set last September, when there was an average of 15.47 strikeouts per game.

That brings us to the larger point: Over the 138-year history of Major League Baseball, the top eight months on that list — that is, the list of months with the highest average of strikeouts per game — are the most recent eight months. You read that correctly. Not eight of the last 12, or eight of the last 10, but eight of the last eight. There were 14.91 strikeouts in September 2011, 14.63 in April 2012, followed by 14.93 last May, 15.01 last June, 15.07 in July, 14.68 in August, the record 15.47 in September and now 15.29 in April 2013. Those are the eight highest monthly strikeout averages in baseball history.

Attention must be paid.

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